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What’s next if hospitality tax isn’t enough?

I’ve found myself pleasantly entertained by the recent letters to the editor regarding the Bemidji hospitality tax. However, it seems to me that we are arguing about the wrong topic.

The Sanford Center, which is an actual business that competes with some local venues, is not supposed to be running in the red. It has only become a tax burden because time and time again it has proven incapable of providing self-sustaining income. Thus it lingers on the side of the city like a giant starving leech that sucks upon an unwilling populace.

City dwellers are already giving their “fair share” of blood, and now those same residents may have their businesses, or places of leisure, taxed. And what if this endeavor isn’t enough to reconcile the leech? Well, then you might as well start taxing the grocery stores and gas stations too, since someone coming into town might happen to buy something there.

The simple truth is that the Sanford Center isn’t actually a failure. Indeed, it’s impossible for it to falter as long as there are people who are willing to be taxed for its support. I don’t personally have a problem with keeping the facility running with city resources, but reliance on this tax concept is only going to continue to guarantee the fact that the center isn’t actually required to be fiscally responsible.

That is why there is opposition to continued introduction of taxes, and that is why Mr. Cooper shouldn’t be complaining about who is paying the tax, but whether or not there should be any Sanford Center tax at all.

Gerald P. Illies