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Your Opinion: Questions raised on jail, sales tax

Dear Editor:

The publicity about the new Cole County jail raises questions. I challenge a member of the Cole County Commission to answer them in this column.

If the new jail has the latest technology and allows fewer people to operate it why is the county doubling the number of jailers to 33? The sheriff should use the same number or even fewer than the old jail.

I see that there is a lot of unused space that is hoped to be occupied by federal prisoners. Maybe the empty space can be guarded by the new jailers, or maybe this is an opportunity for the sheriff and the county commission to widen their kingdom. Is the increase in personnel going to continue indefinitely? Did the commission inform voters about the increase in personnel or just sneak it by us?

Maybe if the number of jailers were hired to adequately operate the jail there would be no need to try to pass a sneaky sales tax. The commission only tries to sneak spending past the citizens without justification for it.

I challenge one of the commissioners to explain why a sales tax was proposed instead of a property tax increase. That way everyone would pay according to the value of their property. A sales tax tries to sneak it by us because it is a little at a time. The county proportion of the tax would amount to $22 million dollars. The city is trying the same thing so we are looking at more than $40 million taken out of the pockets of Cole County citizens.

We can safely assume that the commissioners and their supporters in the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce do not want a property tax increase because they would have to pay their fair share.

They want to pass it on to the people who can least afford it, the moderate and lower income people. We have to pay a higher portion of our income to sales taxes because we have to spend more of our income on necessities rather than luxuries or untaxed investments.

I asked Mike Bates to justify the fairness of the sales tax. I would renew that challenge. His justification to support the sneaky tax is because he stands to gain from the tax increase. He is part of Cole Country Professional Services who work on projects that will be funded by the sneaky tax.

Mike Bates and the county commissioners do not respond because their only reason to support the sneaky tax is for their own benefit. It is time all Cole County citizens be considered and not just the small number of people who would benefit from the tax.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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