Hailey's Local Option Tax will be run through 2050 after citizens voted four-to-one to extend the measure on Tuesday, according to the Blaine County Elections Office. The LOT was scheduled to expire in 2030.
Results are still unofficial, but with all precincts reporting 1,087 people voted in favor of the measure and 260 voted against--an 80.7 to 19.3 percent margin.
The outcome puts to rest concerns that the city may outgrow the funding mechanism, which Idaho law limits to resort towns of less than 10,000 people. In 2018, Hailey's population was estimated around 8,500.
Right now, Hailey imposes a 4 percent local-option tax on car rentals and lodging, a 2 percent tax on alcohol by the drink and a 1 percent tax on restaurant food, with 1 percent of the “car rentals and lodging” category allocated to Friedman Memorial Airport operations. Those levies have brought in some $6 million in revenue since they were implemented 13 years ago.
Originally scheduled for May 19, today's election was conducted remotely over past month due to COVID-19. The results are considered unofficial until the county commissioners canvas the votes, scheduled for next week.
Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson cruised by challenger Kevin Rhodes in Blaine, as he's expected to do across District 2. As of 10 p.m., Simpson held 75 percent of the total vote, according to the Idaho Secretary of State's office. Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch was unopposed.
On the Democratic side, former gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan collected more than 90 percent of the Blaine County vote, beating Jim Vandermaas by a county of 2,386 to 246. As of 10 p.m. on Tuesday, she led with 87 percent of the statewide vote, according to the Idaho Secretary of State's website. If she wins the race, she'll face Risch in the fall.