Opinion | Letter: Position statement on Grand County marijuana taxes
Grand County is proposing Proposition 1A and 1B to impose a 5 percent sales tax on marijuana sales in Grand County and a 5 percent excise tax on marijuana production in Grand County. Voters should vote against both of these ballot issues because: (1) they are being misled by the County as to the tax revenue that will be received; (2) the County has no idea how it will spend the money; and (3) this is an unfair tax on a new industry.
The county made no effort to contact anyone from the industry in Grand County to solicit the industry’s opinions or data that would help them to decide whether to propose this tax despite doing so several times in the past. As a result, the county has either grossly exaggerated or flat out misrepresented the expected revenues that they’ll receive from the proposed tax.
The County anticipates receiving $155,000 in revenue in 2019 from the proposed marijuana excise tax. Igadi is the only company that will pay this tax. Based on Igadi’s annual production levels, which will not change, and the current calculation of the tax, the county will not receive more than $35,000 in revenue. The amount is obtained by taking the total production in the county applying the average rate set by the state every six months and taking 5 percent of that number. This is a fact. The County took the total amount of marijuana sold in the county at retail, not the amount produced in the County as the basis to set its projected revenues.
The sales tax will increase what local residents pay for marijuana products in the county by 10 percent and they’re already paying a sales tax of 16.3 percent. The County claims they will receive $310,000 from the sales tax, but the number is likely off by $150,000 as the County used a strange formula and revenue numbers including dispensaries Fraser who won’t pay the tax for its calculations.
The County proposes the money go to its general fund. Six employees at the County recently received $95,000 in raises. This money will be taken from companies like Igadi who would prefer to give its employees, who work incredibly hard, raises; rather than give their hard earned money to the County to distribute amongst themselves.
Please vote no on Propositions 1A and 1B and spread the word.
David Michel, Grand County
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