Green River Star -

Our View: A tax we can get behind


February 14, 2018

We’re at the cusp of another election year and with the usual races for state and local offices, residents will have the opportunity to vote on the county’s lodging tax.

We think this tax provides an amazing benefit for the county, giving it a better opportunity to promote itself as a tourist destination. That’s why even though we’re only midway through February, we can say supporting this tax is in Sweetwater County’s best interests.

We realize a tax is inherently a tough pill to swallow for many residents and rightfully so, but the lodging tax is different in that it’s only levied on hotel spending, only people renting a room within the county pay the tax. With few exceptions, this is a tax only visitors to our area end up paying. According to the Sweetwater County Travel and Tourism Board’s executive director, Jenissa Meredith, 65 percent of the hotel occupancy in Sweetwater County is from people staying temporarily for work. Those temporary workers pay a majority of the tax dollars collected.

Those tax dollars help support our community. Aside from marketing the area and providing grants to events bringing outside visitors to the county, the tax helps support the two chambers of commerce in their operations.

Aside from representing local businesses, the chambers act as visitors’ centers, providing information to travelers coming through the area.

Beyond that, the tax helps bring events to the county. Meredith said she’s applied to have the county host future 3A and 4A state soccer tournaments. She’s also showing support for Green River, by applying to have the 2020 state speech and debate tournament at Green River High School. GRHS hosted that two years ago and proved the school was a great location for the event.

By bringing the high school spotlight to Green River and Rock Springs, we not only benefit from those visitor dollars flowing into the economy, we can show off the best of what Sweetwater County has to offer.

While Meredith said she isn’t sure what percentage the board will seek at the ballot, we think the community should support this tax regardless of it is 1, 2, or 3 percent.

It’s a means of revenue the residents of Sweetwater County generally don’t have to pay and provides a lot of support for both Green River and Rock Springs.


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