By CHARLIE RILEY

A smart investment in Truckee, a “quarter of a penny” at a time, could do great things for all of us.

What would happen if: Our school children had better, safer bike paths to avoid traffic and get to schools and parks? Truckee families had even better access to hike, mountain bike, and enjoy our magical part of the Sierra Nevada? Truckee attracted more visitors? Second homeowners wanted to spend more time here?

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The answer is Truckee would be an even healthier community for families to live in, and for businesses to grow.

As a member of the greater Truckee community and a business owner, I support Measure R and its modest sales tax increase. I support it because it will give our total community, including our businesses, so much more than it will cost. Better trails in Truckee are good for our families, visitors, and businesses.

I hear too often people arguing against any taxes, much less new ones. While the rhetoric may sound good, it just isn’t that smart. We should focus on making good investments as a community. This investment in our community creates more for all of us collectively than individually keeping a “quarter of a penny” in each of our own pockets. Importantly, every dollar raised by Measure R stays right here in Truckee. This is a small investment for us as individuals with a large return for our quality of life and economy.

Why is Measure R worth it for all of us? Ten million dollars in trails puts money directly into Truckee’s economy. The money raised is going to be spent, and re-spent, over and over locally in Truckee, not elsewhere. Ten million dollars in trails becomes jobs and employment in our local community.  

With better trails attracting more visitors, we will see guests and second homeowners spending money in Truckee rather than in San Jose, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, or San Francisco — money spent in our stores, restaurants, and businesses, not in the Bay Area, or the East Coast, or even Europe.  

Importantly, all the California cities mentioned have sales tax rates higher than Truckee’s will be; in fact, the state average sales tax will remain higher than Truckee’s.  Anyone from most of the Bay Area visiting or owning a second home in Truckee will still feel they are paying less sales tax than in their hometown, yet they will be spending their money with us!

The most important benefit is for our families, creating ever greater opportunities to experience and live healthy, outdoor-focused lives in our part of the Sierra Nevada.

~ Charlie Riley is a Truckee area resident and local business owner.

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