LOVELAND, Colo. (KDVR) — Loveland voters will soon decide whether or not they want to get rid of taxes on grocery sales.
Proposition 300 is on the November ballot. If passed, it would remove food for home consumption from the sales tax base for the city of Loveland.
The 3% sales tax might sound good for residents’ household budgets, but the city is looking at the cost that would have for Loveland’s general fund.
“That would be a $10.5 million reduction in 2024, and that would persist every year after that,” Loveland Chief Financial Officer Brian Waldes said.
As a whole, Waldes told FOX31 the general funds budget is about $130 million, including capital.
“If you take $10.5 million out of that equation, we would have to seek to reduce expenses or change our programs or service levels in some way to make that up,” Waldes said. “The general fund is used for everything from public safety to plowing the streets, the recreation center and library and services like that.”
Loveland voters to decide on 3% tax on groceries
“To say that there’s going to be a loss is just looking at one side of the equation,” Loveland resident George Garklavs said.
Garklavs is a spokesperson for “Let Us Vote Loveland,” a group of voters who advocate for the initiative.
“I would like them to be aware of the issues, to see both sides of it, not just the one side that this guy might be filing and the parks will be closed down, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Garklavs said. “That’s been used before, and the parks haven’t closed down, and the library hasn’t lost its story hours.”
Garklavs calls the 3% tax unfair to struggling families.
“It hurts people. It’s a regressive tax,” Garklavs said. “A lot of cities in Colorado don’t charge tax on food. They find ways to make it work, so I think with the creative folks that we’ve got in the city, they can find ways to make this work and engage with the public.”
“We’ll be prepared either way, no matter what the community decides,” Waldes said. “We’ll be ready to administer it. We just want people to have information before they make the decision.”
On Nov. 7, Loveland voters will make the decision. If the tax is eliminated, it will go into effect Jan. 1.