Commissioner candidates talk about taxes

Nikki Gill, 28, is the sales and marketing manager for the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch.

Gill is a supporter of SPET, introduced by her grandfather, Ralph Gill, when he was in office, she said.

“SPET was intended to provide transparency and to ensure that local government had a clear plan in place on how it would spend the funds allocated for each community project,” she said. “Since its inception, SPET has had a great track record and has been a very effective way of forcing local government to fully define the scope of a project and ensure that that they are held accountable.”

She doesn’t support the 1 percent general sales tax because it doesn’t come with the same legal strings, allowing elected officials to spend the money at their discretion.

“There’s no doubt that we need to find a way to create affordable housing and find solutions to the transportation problems within Jackson,” she said. “However, I think collecting tax money without a specific plan in place for how it’s going to be spent is irresponsible.”

Should the tax be approved, Gill said she would bolster START bus routes to commuter communities, as well as expand service hours to better accommodate those “who don’t work a traditional Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 job.”

“As for housing, I think local government should stay out of the construction business and leave it to the private sector,” she said. “I would encourage the county commissioners to work with the private sector by providing incentives, and giving landowners and developers some relief from the exorbitant development fees so we can work together to build affordable and deed-restricted housing.”