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Our Opinion: Study issues and positions, then vote

Tax hike proposals and an annexation issue are among the local ballot issues to be decided Tuesday.

A proposed quarter-cent Jefferson City sales tax to finance the fire department has prompted a number of letters to the editor.

The sales tax is projected to generate $41 million over 15 years to fund fire stations, vehicles, equipment, training, retirement and other expenses.

Passage would eliminate a city property tax levy that generates more than $800,000 annually for the firemen’s pension fund.

Proponents’ best argument is that if you are a fire or accident victim, you will want the best-trained, bestequipped personnel responding to your plight.

Opponents’ best argument is taxpayers deserve to be represented by elected officials in budget matters, rather than have decisions usurped by a dedicated funding stream.

A separate tax proposal on Tuesday’s ballot proposes a 10-cent increase in the property tax levy for Missouri River Regional Library patrons. The library serves residents of Cole and Osage counties.

Proponents contend an increase is overdue and would provide more resources to serve patrons.

Opponents believe the nearly 50 percent hike — the existing levy is almost 20 cents — is extravagant and unnecessary.

A third local issue would authorize Jefferson City to annex an area west of the existing city limits.

Orderly growth is the customary rationale behind annexation proposals, but an added incentive for the city is additional lodging taxes from two hotels and property taxes, including those from an upscale subdivision.

In addition to issues, voters will decide in party primaries who will advance as candidates in November general election contests.

As always, we encourage voters to study the issues and the candidates’ positions, then go to the polls Tuesday and cast informed votes.

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