Letter to the Editor: Response to proposed street sales tax

Your report on Friday spoke of Alamosa looking at raising taxes to fund additional street maintenance. It did not say that city staff and the council sat around discussing how they could make the tax the most regressive, or how to design it so that it would demand the greatest percent of their income from the poor and the lowest percent of their income from the rich. Doing those things however is why a sales tax is so regressive.

I would guess that the question didn’t even enter their minds as they discussed the funding need. Instead it was probably a case of, “That’s how we’ve always done it.” But hopefully the times they are a changin’ and staff and council will realize that the days of just doing what we’ve always done is finally going out of style.

Were the funds to be raised via property taxes, at least those with the more expensive properties would be providing funds at a higher rate. The rich don’t pay sales taxes on many of their purchases such as property or investments, purchases which the poor are not making. The poor on the other hand pay sales taxes on the bulk of their purchases.

Good news in the article pertained to a citizens committee to examine the issue. Hopefully they will use some of the more progressive transportation movements such as “Complete Streets” which look beyond just the needs of motorists and include other modes like pedestrians and bicycles.

Don Thompson