Tax extensions spur call to ‘buy local’

BOULDER – “Buy local for the holidays” is the next push for local economic development experts, after three local open-space tax extensions passed on Tuesday.

About 85 percent of Boulder voters approved a 20-year extension of a 0.25 percent sales tax for parks and recreation. An overwhelming number of Lafayette and Louisville voters passed open-space tax extensions for the next 10 years in their cities as well.

Louisville voters renewed a 0.375-cent space and trails sales tax, which had been set to expire in 2013. Lafayette voters approved a 0.25 percent sales tax to buy new open-space land, which had been set to expire in December 2014.

People wanting to buy a new iPad or any other retail item this holiday season should buy it in Boulder, said Sean Maher, executive director of Downtown Boulder Inc. That way, he said, the sales tax revenues will go to fund things such as the city’s open space.

“Don’t buy it online, don’t go to Cherry Creek” to buy gifts, Maher said. “The trails you pay for and the open space you buy are all benefits that sales taxes pay for. You may as well be paying them here instead of another community.”

Boulder’s 0.25 percent sales tax for parks and recreation wouldn’t have expired until 2015. City officials said they were putting it on the ballot this year for budget planning reasons. The tax has generated $7.1 million so far in 2012.

Boulder retailers collect sales tax at a rate of 3.41 percent. With county and state sales taxes, as well as a Regional Transportation District fee of 1.1 percent, total tax collection on retail sales in Boulder is 8.21 percent.

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