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Reader: How About Taxing Real Estate Developers to Pay for Parks?

An artist's rendering of a possible RiNo park included in City Council member Jolon Clark's presentation about the Denver parks tax proposal.
An artist's rendering of a possible RiNo park included in City Council member Jolon Clark's presentation about the Denver parks tax proposal.
City of Denver

Denver City Council president Jolon Clark has proposed a sales tax that he says would improve and expand parks in the Mile High City. The plan calls for a sales tax of .25 percent, or about two and a half cents on a $10 purchase, with the proceeds — an estimated $41.5 million per annum — dedicated to Denver's parks. The money would be used to acquire additional parkland and open space, fund capital improvements to existing parks, pay for waterway restoration, reclamation and forestry in mountain parks, and more.

But getting this through may be no walk in the park, since readers have plenty of concerns about the proposal.

Dan says:

I think the taxes have to stop somewhere. Denver seems to be turning into a playground for the rich. How about taxing the real estate developers to pay for parks?

Zack argues:

Yay, just because I work in Denver but can't afford to live there I get to pay for the parks I never have time to see.

Ronnie explains:

F*ck no. I'm not going to subsidize the wealthy areas of town to get them fancy parks. There were plenty of parks in Denver. Developers and bureaucrats didn't see the need for them and now that they've had their way in Denver, they want these amenities? But Denver voters will see 'parks' and just ante up

Keep reading for more stories about Denver's parks.

According to City Council member Jolon Clark, this lot at Federal and Tennessee is listed as a park on Denver maps.
According to City Council member Jolon Clark, this lot at Federal and Tennessee is listed as a park on Denver maps.
Google Maps

"Denver Parks That Aren't Parks, and What It Will Cost to Make Them Real"

The stormwater diversion project is expected to close City Park Golf Course for two years.
The stormwater diversion project is expected to close City Park Golf Course for two years.
City of Denver Golf

"Why a Judge Okayed Closing City Park Golf Course for Two Years"

Reader: How About Taxing Real Estate Developers to Pay for Parks?
City of Denver

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Clark has offered a variety of arguments for why this investment wouldn't overburden taxpayers. "We're the only metro county that doesn't have a dedicated sales tax for parks," he notes. "Douglas County has a .17 percent tax, and the others have at least a .25 percent sales tax. Ours is zero."

He maintains that even with the .25 percent increase, Denver's sales taxes would still be below average — 7.9 percent combining city and state taxes, in comparison with 8.02 percent for what he says are "our nearest 25 city and county jurisdictions." And because so much money is spent in Denver by people living in outlying suburbs or out-of-state tourists, the actual amount of revenue attributed to city residents would be just 24 percent of the total.

What do you think of the proposed tax? Post a comment or email us at editorial@westword.com.

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