Our Opinion: Extend Cole County sales tax for capital improvements

Tax issues deserve scrutiny.

We have examined the proposed extension of Cole County’s half-cent, capital improvements sales tax on Tuesday’s ballot, and we believe it deserves approval.

Our support is not based on two obvious selling points: the proposal is an extension of an existing tax rather than a new tax; and a sales tax is shared by non-residents who use Cole County infrastructure.

Instead, our endorsement is based on a 25-year history of Cole County officials delivering on promised improvements.

Since its inception, sales tax revenues have targeted road and bridge projects, as well as improvements to facilities, primarily the courthouse.

Like the current proposal, each of the previous installments has carried a five-year sunset provision.

We believe county residents repeatedly have approved past extensions based on fulfillment of promises.

A brief overview of the 2007-11 tax reveals: completion of improvements to Big Horn Drive and Business 50 West; cooperative projects with Jefferson City and seven smaller communities; resurfacing about 75 miles of roadway; upgrading 23 miles of gravel roads to paved; a bridge replacement, one bridge rehabilitation and 16 stormwater projects.

The extension on Tuesday’s ballot seeks to raise about $26 million, with an estimated $22.1 million (about 85 percent) for road and bridge projects and about $3.9 million (15 percent) for facilities.

Since its inception, the guiding forces behind the county’s capital improvements sales tax have been public safety and progress.

Improved infrastructure makes our roadways and bridges smoother and safer for county residents and enhances our community as a hub of economic activity.

In the interest of continued progress, we endorse Proposition A, the extension of Cole County’s half-cent sales tax, on Tuesday’s ballot.

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