Tahoe Timeshare Owners Hot Over Tax Measure

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Tahoe Timeshare Owners Hot Over Tax Measure
« on: April 08, 2004, 07:27:14 »
Tahoe Timeshare Owners Hot Over Tax Measure

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- A new tax plan in South Lake Tahoe could have property owners paying more to finance area schools, but some are complaining that it's unfair because it includes thousands who own timeshares in the vacation hotspot.

Measure L is opposed by some as taxation without representation and favored by others who call it the cost of owning a piece of one of America's most pristine wilderness settings. Either way, the proposed parcel tax increase is something South Lake Tahoe school officials say they need.

By the end of this school year, the Lake Tahoe School District will be facing a $3 million shortfall. The district claims it has already made cuts. There are just two nurses for the district's 4,900 students. One principal oversees two elementary schools, and on both those campuses, there are no assistant principals.

The next move is to possibly close two out of the districts five elementary schools, dropping all physical education classes and eliminating class-size reduction, according to school officials.

"We'll be asking our parents to supply more money to our schools. Athletic programs may be increased to over $200 per athlete," said school board member Sue Novasel.

To combat the shrinking budget, the district has placed Measure L on the ballot. It would tax a homeowner, including timeshare owners, $60 a year. And this is where the dispute begins. While a single homeowner would pay $60, all 52 owners of one weekly timeshare would each pay $60, totaling more than $3,000.

"Our owners are an easy target. They can't vote here. So, no one can oppose it. Our people say it's taxation without representation," said Stardust Vacation Resort spokesman Ed McCarthy.

Opponents say they're not against paying a fair share, but because most timeshare owners don't live in Tahoe, they can't vote on the measure.

Of the 52,000 homeowners that would be taxed under Measure L, 40 percent of them are timeshare owners.

The school district said it's not out to unfairly target any one.

Voters will decide on the issue next week.