Our Opinion: Vote Tuesday to extend city sales tax

A municipal sales tax for capital improvements was a good idea when Jefferson City voters first approved it 25 years ago. And it’s a good idea now.

Why? Because a local sales tax provides the most efficient, most targeted program for vital infrastructure and public safety improvements.

Proposition 1 on Tuesday’s ballot asks voters whether to continue the city’s half-cent sales tax for an additional five years. Each of five previous votes on the issue won approval.

We believe the success of the program rests on a number of factors. Among them:

• A local tax for local projects is costeffective. Tax dollars are not shuttled to Washington, D.C., and siphoned off by the federal bureaucracy before a fraction is returned to the local jurisdiction.

• Local projects and categories are identified in advance. A list of targeted projects — with allowance for flexibility to meet changing needs — and projected costs is provided to voters before they go to the polls. (The listing of proposed improvements is published elsewhere in this edition).

• Past performance is commendable. Local officials have established a solid record of completing promised projects.

• Costs are shared. Residents outside the city who come here to shop pay sales taxes to help maintain the infrastructure they use.

Continuation of the tax is expected to generate $26 million during the next five years for public works, public safety and parks projects.

That program is consistent with past spending for:

• Infrastructure to improve convenience for motorists and bolster economic development. Examples include the extension of Missouri 179, where a new St. Mary’s Health Center is planned, and Lafayette Street improvements to promote access to the MSP redevelopment site.

• Police and fire prevention and protection. Public safety has been enhanced through the purchase of equipment and modern communications.

• Quality-of-life amenities. An example is extension of the greenway system for walkers, joggers and bicyclists to enjoy.

Jefferson City consistently has delivered capital improvements promised by past half-cent sales taxes campaigns. We encourage voters on Tuesday to continue this program of progress by voting “yes” on Proposition 1.

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