The Wheeler Opera House in funded in part by a Real Estate Transfer Tax, which supports the programs and maintenance of the Wheeler Opera House. In addition to the tax, general support of the Wheeler comes from revenues generated from ticket sales, box office commissions, user fees, and rent.
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE 0.5%
WHEELER OPERA HOUSE REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX (RETT):
- A RETT IS NOT A SALES OR PROPERTY TAX
A real estate transfer tax is not a recurring tax that is payable by Aspenites. Rather, it is an amount paid to the City only if an individual or entity elects to purchase property within the Aspen city limits.
- THE 0.5% RETT IS APPROVED THROUGH 2019.
Aspen City Council first adopted the 0.5% RETT dedicated to the Wheeler Opera House (Ordinance 20 – Series 1979) for a twenty-year term. Voters approved an extension in May 1997, and adopted a second twenty-year term, commencing January 1, 2000 and ending December 31, 2019.
- NO NEW RETTS CAN BE ADOPTED IN COLORADO.
There are eleven other communities in Colorado that impose a real estate transfer tax, most are resort communities. Given voter adoption of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in 1992, it is unlawful to create or pass any new real estate transfer taxes; extending and/or modifying the use of existing taxes is possible if approved by the voters. If an existing RETT expires, a community cannot bring it back at a later date.
- WHEELER OPERATIONS CURRENTLY DEPEND ON THE RETT.
The purpose of the 0.5% RETT has been, and continues to be, “to provide for the maintenance of the Wheeler Opera House; and, subordinate thereto, to provide for the support of the visual and performing arts…” Over the first fifteen years of the current twenty-year term, all capital improvements to the building, equipment purchases and nearly two-thirds of operational funding for the Wheeler Opera House has been funded from RETT resources.