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City of Longmont Ballot Issue 2I

Shall city of Longmont taxes be increased $1.3 million annually in the first full fiscal year and by such amounts as are raised annually thereafter by the imposition of an additional sales tax of 3.0 percent, which is an increase of thirty cents on each ten dollar purchase, beginning January 1, 2018, on the sale of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products as provided in ordinance o-2017-47, with the rate of tax being allowed to be increased or decreased without further voter approval so long as the rate of taxation does not exceed 15 percent, and with proceeds representing 1.5 percent of such sales or 15 cents on each ten dollar purchase used exclusively for affordable housing programs and services; shall the revenues from such tax and any investment income earned from such revenues be collected and spent as a voter-approved revenue change under section 20 of article x of the Colorado constitution; and shall ordinance o-2017-47 be approved? Yes__ No__MAJOR PROVISIONS:The City of Longmont is asking voters to approve an additional sales tax on retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products, in future stores. The additional sales tax rate would initially be 3%, or 3 cents per dollar spent on marijuana products. This tax is in addition to Longmont’s current combined sales taxes of 8.26% on other taxable items.Half of the monies accrued from this additional tax would be used for the city’s affordable housing projects.Additionally, this ballot seeks permission for the city council to increase this sales tax rate not-to-exceed15%, or to decrease it, without further voter approval.A VOTE “YES” MEANS: An initial 11.26% sales tax (Longmont’s usual 8.26% plus the additional 3%, if this ballot measure is passed) will be applied to marijuana sales, if stores open in Longmont.A VOTE “NO” MEANS: A sales tax above Longmont’s usual 8.26% will not be set for marijuana, at this time.BACKGROUND:The City Council is considering approval for the establishment of 4 marijuana retail stores. This measure, if passed, would establish an additional tax on the sales without waiting for another election. When the voters of Colorado elected to allow the sale of marijuana outside of medical marijuana dispensaries, the potential for additional costs of regulation, public education and public safety were acknowledged. An additional sales tax maximum was set at 15% while allowing individual municipalities to determine what revenue would be appropriate for their community, and to put the amount to a vote for the city’s electors. Other cities in the county have set various tax rates for these sales within their own boundaries.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

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Arguments

Those IN FAVOR Say: 1. This new sales tax will pay for the costs associated with marijuana sales within the city should the city council allow the such stores to open. Such costs include licensing, inspection, and public safety functions. 2. Beyond covering costs of city services related to marijuana sales, tax revenue from marijuana will be used to fund affordable housing projects. 3. Because many cities surrounding Longmont in Weld and Larimer counties do not allow marijuana sales, an additional tax in Longmont will help maximize the positive impact of marijuana sales in our community by collecting revenue from residents in other communities. 4. Longmont residents are paying taxes in Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville and other nearby communities that allow marijuana sales. By approving tax on marijuana in Longmont, the revenue currently going to other communities will stay in Longmont.
Those OPPOSED Say: 1. This additional sales tax in Longmont will make the marijuana stores in Longmont less competitive compared with those in other cities in the Front Range. 2. The City Council has not as yet specified a fund or specific use a marijuana tax will pay for outside of affordable housing. As such, revenues from this tax may go to the city's general fund. 3. Additional taxes unnecessarily target marijuana users to pay for city services. Taxes paid on marijuana should be no different than taxes on clothes, food and other consumer products sold in Longmont. 4. The additional 3% sales tax on this is merely the foot-in-the door: while a 3% sales tax addition on a $10 package of marijuana amounts to an additional 30 cents; a 15% sales tax equates to an additional $1.50.

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