9% NH Lift Ticket tax - now, back to our show

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  1. #1

    9% NH Lift Ticket tax - now, back to our show

    Understand why last thread was closed, but fascinating back and forth.



    Where are the examples that raising taxes creates significantly more government revenue without damaging business?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by 1dog View Post
    Understand why last thread was closed, but fascinating back and forth.

    Where are the examples that raising taxes creates significantly more government revenue without damaging business?
    They're often in the books on the shelf right next to the books about unicorns, fairy dust and magical trees that grow money
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  3. #3
    bruh we get to do these political debates a couple times a year and get away with it until the mods close it down

    Closing the last thread was appropriate move, trying to fire it up again, not so much

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfreetuna View Post
    bruh we get to do these political debates a couple times a year and get away with it until the mods close it down

    Closing the last thread was appropriate move, trying to fire it up again, not so much
    This. But let's let it go for a bit.

    Most of these threads wander off topic and I can be the worst at flying down rabbit holes of conversation. So let's stay on topic this time.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bdfreetuna View Post
    bruh we get to do these political debates a couple times a year and get away with it until the mods close it down

    Closing the last thread was appropriate move, trying to fire it up again, not so much
    Understand the sentiment, but it does affect our sport. (and every other aspect of life as well)

    Skiing/riding is expensive enough, and adding to that expense narrows the potential new customer pool even more.

    All business needs new customers to grow.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 1dog View Post
    Understand the sentiment, but it does affect our sport. (and every other aspect of life as well)

    Skiing/riding is expensive enough, and adding to that expense narrows the potential new customer pool even more.

    All business needs new customers to grow.
    I'm actually amazed, after looking, that Maine doesn't tax lift tickets. Everything else gets taxed here, after all.

    Taxing day tickets only may be one of the dumber ideas I've heard—not only does it put the state in the position of incentivizing season-pass purchases, but it makes accounting stupid-complex. I worked in IT at a smaller Vermont ski area for a while, and managing the point-of-sale system to track what got which taxes applied, which taxes were baked into the prices (e.g. lift tickets) and which weren't (e.g. hardgoods in the retail shop), which items were taxable (lift tickets are, lessons are not, even when selling a combined lift/lesson package; a normal sweatshirt in the retail shop wouldn't be, but one with the ski area logo on it would be, etc), and which tax rates applied (6% sales tax, 10% rooms and meals, different tax rules for soda vs beer vs liquor, etc.) was a damn cluster. And of course the state of Vermont does pay attention, and not only will they fine you if you undercollect, they'll fine you if you overcollect (and no, the over-collected funds do not apply to the bill you owe for under-collecting). If we also had to determine day tickets versus "season pass" products for tax purposes, that would have another set of permutations and just increased the cluster factor by that much more.

    With that said, having the sales tax apply to lift tickets doesn't seem to be dooming the Vermont ski industry. It is an additional cost of doing business, and 9% seems steep, but the reality is also that there is a real infrastructure hit from tourists, and applying some form of sales tax is often the most effective way to have them subsidize the infrastructure needed to support their presence. I spent a few years in Montana, as well, where I lived in one of a handful of municipalities in the state that had voted in a local sales tax for just that purpose; even in a state that's generally tax-averse (there's no statewide sales tax, for example), a local luxury tax got voter approval, because it was seen as a way to support necessary infrastructure spending without raising the cost of living further.
    Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I speak only for myself, unless I'm saying something incredibly dumb, in which case I didn't say anything and you're hallucinating.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 1dog View Post
    Understand why last thread was closed, but fascinating back and forth.

    Where are the examples that raising taxes creates significantly more government revenue without damaging business?
    That's a very good question. I'd like to know as well. I can think of examples where it hurts for sure and has a noticeable impact on demand. For example NJ significantly raised their gas tax a few years ago with the intention of generating xxx additional revenue. There was a clause in the law that allowed them to adjust the gas tax every year to ensure that they still generated that "xxx" amount. Of course they didn't hit their targets and had to raise the tax again. Why? Pretty simple really. When you go from having gas that is much cheaper than your neighboring states, to having gas that is much closer in price to your neighbors, there's no longer an incentive for people from out of state to buy their gas here. You used to see pretty decent lines at some of the gas stations near the NJ/NY border on major highways at times. That's much rarer now. The projected revenue was based on the assumption that demand wouldn't change with the higher tax (which was ridiculous as the first thing a lot of non-politicians said was that demand would drop if you raised prices).

    Is skiing the same? No, so perhaps not a great analogy by any means. I don't really care where I buy my gas. Most people do have much stronger preferences on where they ski though. Some will suck it up and pay more if they truly like NH resorts over resorts in ME or VT (or if they are locked in with property by NH mountains, or if they are more convenient, etc). But others will take their money elsewhere. Or some may still ski the NH resorts, but maybe just go a couple less times per season to make up for the higher costs. So for the NH resorts, do they lower prices to compensate for the taxes and eat the loss themselves? Or do they allow the prices to jump and risk losing customers? Not an easy decision. And hopefully the tax doesn't pass so resorts don't need to make that decision in the first place.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdskier View Post
    So for the NH resorts, do they lower prices to compensate for the taxes and eat the loss themselves? Or do they allow the prices to jump and risk losing customers? Not an easy decision. And hopefully the tax doesn't pass so resorts don't need to make that decision in the first place.
    From what I read, there's little chance the bill will pass. So this discussion is largely academic.

    But for the resorts, they will most likely be the one who actually got hit as they had to absorb the tax to keep the lift ticket the same level has been. NH is in competition with VT for skiers. The lift ticket price is mostly determined by the market, not by underlying cost. So taxing the lift ticket is simply asking the ski resorts to pony up the extra 9%. Hopefully, that point will be raised during the debate (if there's a debate)
    Last edited by abc; Nov 9, 2019 at 7:22 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbroderick View Post
    I'm actually amazed, after looking, that Maine doesn't tax lift tickets. Everything else gets taxed here, after all.

    Taxing day tickets only may be one of the dumber ideas I've heard—not only does it put the state in the position of incentivizing season-pass purchases, but it makes accounting stupid-complex. I worked in IT at a smaller Vermont ski area for a while, and managing the point-of-sale system to track what got which taxes applied, which taxes were baked into the prices (e.g. lift tickets) and which weren't (e.g. hardgoods in the retail shop), which items were taxable (lift tickets are, lessons are not, even when selling a combined lift/lesson package; a normal sweatshirt in the retail shop wouldn't be, but one with the ski area logo on it would be, etc), and which tax rates applied (6% sales tax, 10% rooms and meals, different tax rules for soda vs beer vs liquor, etc.) was a damn cluster. And of course the state of Vermont does pay attention, and not only will they fine you if you undercollect, they'll fine you if you overcollect (and no, the over-collected funds do not apply to the bill you owe for under-collecting). If we also had to determine day tickets versus "season pass" products for tax purposes, that would have another set of permutations and just increased the cluster factor by that much more.

    With that said, having the sales tax apply to lift tickets doesn't seem to be dooming the Vermont ski industry. It is an additional cost of doing business, and 9% seems steep, but the reality is also that there is a real infrastructure hit from tourists, and applying some form of sales tax is often the most effective way to have them subsidize the infrastructure needed to support their presence. I spent a few years in Montana, as well, where I lived in one of a handful of municipalities in the state that had voted in a local sales tax for just that purpose; even in a state that's generally tax-averse (there's no statewide sales tax, for example), a local luxury tax got voter approval, because it was seen as a way to support necessary infrastructure spending without raising the cost of living further.
    I feel your pain. I used to have to do state sales tax returns for a large company that filed in about 15 states. A lot of states have different tax rates based on county and city, such as NY, CA and TX. It was an administrative nightmare. I never want to see a sales tax return again ever in my life.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kbroderick View Post
    Taxing day tickets only may be one of the dumber ideas I've heard—not only does it put the state in the position of incentivizing season-pass purchases, but it makes accounting stupid-complex.
    Government NEVER cares about that, because it doesn't have to deal with that.

    SOX regulation is a nightmarish penalty for smaller businesses to ostensibly regulate financial responsibility. Meanwhile the Federal Government can run a debt equal to almost $200,000 PER taxpayer*.

    *I prefer putting it in these terms, because $23 Trillion is an abstract figure to most, and people literally dont understand it.
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