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State tourism is at an all-time high, but the Colorado Tourism Board, which has helped entice large numbers of travelers to the state, could become an indirect casualty of Amendment 1 if voters fail to approve its funding tax in next fall's election.
The sunset provision of the state law creating the board makes it due for renewal or expiration this year. Amendment 1 puts this tax decision in the hands of the public rather than the Legislature.
"In the very, very competitive tourism market, it's critical for Colorado to continue aggressively promoting our state's attractions," said Rich Meredith, executive director of the Colorado Tourism Board. "Without this funding, I don't see any way the state will retain its tourism market share or show growth."
But those who oppose the funding tax claim the private sector should promote tourism without a "subsidy" from the taxpayers.
"I think it's a disgrace that you have this group of millionaires -- super rich -- who own resorts but who expect the blue collar worker who wants to take his family skiing to pay the tourist tax," said Douglas Bruce, a key opponent of the funding tax.
"It's not a tourist tax," Bruce claimed. "Because it has nothing to do with being a tourist. Every time your car breaks down and you want to rent a car, you pay the tax. Every time you want to go to Winter Park to ski or stay at a motel, you pay the tax."
The Colorado Tourism Board, an umbrella promotional organization, is funded by a 0.2 percent tax on recreational attractions, lodging, restaurants, ski …