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Update on 3/18
Lodging industry members –
Here are a few details that will be instrumental in your understanding of HB22-1117. There are members of the Vacation Rental Council advocating that it will be much more instrumental to workforce housing to put energy behind HB 22-1117 than a localized fee on vacation rentals.
We know there are many members on both sides of the conversation and we encourage you to attend Tuesday’s Town Board meeting or write to the Trustees.
Vacation Owners, join the industry conversation here.
All Lodging Owners can sound in here.
Here are a few more helpful items:
Trail Gazette article on workforce housing
County Commissioners:
My name is Gini Pingenot and I work for the statewide association of elected county commissioners – Colorado Counties, Inc. We are initiating a bill on behalf of our members this year which will create additional investment options for Local Marketing Districts. It’s HB22-1117 County Lodging Tax.
I’m reaching out because I am assuming that Visit Estes Park is the Local Marketing District for Estes Park.
Attached is our factsheet. The bulk of the bill is focused on the county lodging tax but section 1 of the bill expands the investment options available to LMDs.
I am also attaching a map that shows where the 6 LMDs in the state are (three are county based and three are in cities). The request for this expanded authority (especially around capital investments) came from our member, Gunnison County (which you will see is one of the 6 LMDs in the state). In there case, they want the option to use LMD funds to help build workforce housing, child care centers and other brick and mortar workforce supports. Current statue prohibits capital construction unless it’s a tourist information center.
I have not examined all of the 6 LMD ballot measures that led to the creation of each one but my understanding of this portion of state statute (and from review of a couple of ballot measures) is that the decision of whether or not the USE this expanded option would be determined by the LMD board. (That’s very different than the other tool we’re expanding in HB 1117 which is the county lodging tax which DOES require going back to voters.)
The Larimer County Commissioners suggested I reach out to you and make sure this bill was on your radar. If you have any questions and/or would like to visit in real time, I’d be happy to jump on a phone call.  I’d also like to hear your views of HB 1117 when time permits.

This letter to the Visit Estes Park board of directors does a good job describing the implications of HB22-1117 in Larimer County, with an update on 2/14. If you have further information to share with your peers in the lodging industry, please join the conversation on this page as we assess where our collective voice will have the most impact.

Update on 2/14 from Karen Franker with a letter from the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association

TIAC and CADMO Members:

TIAC, together with our industry partners, has been working very hard on HB22-1117.  Unfortunately, there is a significant anti-tourism sentiment in many of our communities that has given this bill support from local government throughout the State - click here for an example of this from Gunnison County.  

Late last week, we agreed to a series of amendments (L007,L004, L002)  to the bill that Representative Roberts offered on Friday in Committee. While these amendments make the bill better than the introduced version, it is far from perfect. Unfortunately, the political climate at the Capitol is such that the amended bill is the best we are going to get, and as a result the tourism industry has agreed to go neutral on the bill as amended. We will continue to follow this bill and will continue to provide updates as it moves through the legislative process.

Amie Mayhew, President & CEO
Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association

Message to the VEP Board on 2/10
Dear VEP Board Members,
There is currently a bill (HB22-1117) in the CO legislature aimed at increasing the use of local lodging tax revenue to include things like workforce housing and childcare. The bill has bipartisan support and today it passed the House's Finance Committee (9-1, with one excused absence). The next step is for it to go to a full vote in the house and then the senate. 
As you know, VEP is limited based on its statutory authorization as a Local Marketing District (LMD), on how we can spend lodging tax revenue, which is currently 2%. The bulk of this bill is focused on county lodging taxes across the state, but section 1 of the bill expands the investment options available to LMDs. 
Organizations that have been lobbying for the bill include the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) (they went to the Estes Town Board and garnered their support a few weeks ago), as well as Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI) (who works closely with the Larimer County Commissioners). 
On the other side, the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) is sounding an alarm that provisions of the bill could result in a situation where some counties have the power to defund tourism down to a minimum of 10% of the lodging tax revenue and instead use 90% of the funds for other things. It is important to note that Larimer County does not currently collect a lodging tax, so that particular issue doesn't seem to apply to us like it does to other counties across the state. However, it is possible that some Colorado destinations could face a defunding of tourism initiatives, if their elected county officials decide to go down that route. 
Those are the sides. 
What does all this mean? 
If the bill passes both chambers and is signed by the governor, then Visit Estes Park may be able to collect additional lodging taxes for other issues like workforce housing. But in order to do that, there would have to be a ballot measure approved by the local voters. 
So here's an example of what could happen if the bill becomes a law... There could be a local ballot initiative that asks voters whether they would want to extend the LMD lodging tax to 4%, so that 2% could be used for workforce housing and the other 2% remains intact to run the LMD operations in destination management and marketing. The voters decide and we would go from there. 
My understanding is that because of the current IGA for the LMD, there would not be an opportunity for any governing bodies to divert the current 2% to alternative avenues, other than running the LMD under the statutory authority it currently has. 
What do we do next? We continue to watch the progress of the bill and we have discussions about what we should do if it passes. 
Thank you,
Kara Franker
Visit Estes Park


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