Your Opinion: Newcomer favors Transformation tax
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I’m new to Jefferson City having relocated here most recently from Los Angeles. I’m male, 62 years young, well educated, well traveled and a former executive with a couple of Fortune 100 companies.
I came to Jefferson City for a variety of reasons but most importantly because my father lives here. I’ve also visited the area many times over the years for the same reason.
Living in a city for a long period of time is a lot like being in a long-term marriage with the same spouse. You barley notice the incremental changes taking place over time.
Much of the discussion around the Transformation initiative seems to focus on two areas. The first is the tax itself and maintaining accountability and transparency around the uses of the resulting revenue. The second surrounds the pros and cons of specific initiatives associated with the project.
The Transformation leadership has done a good job dealing with the accountability and transparency questions. Mr. Scheppers’ recent letter reinforced this. The individual projects will always have their supporters and detractors.
There’s one area though that’s not being discussed enough and that is ... why? Why are we doing this in the first place? Those volunteers and — I emphasize — volunteers that worked tirelessly to pull this thing together know why we’re doing this. They were there and involved at the beginning when the demographic research was presented by TIP Strategies.
Jefferson City and Cole County are on the “down-slide.” Our 25-44 year olds have been bailing out at a rate of 5 percent over the period from 2000-2008. Over the same period, in Boone County, the number of 25-44 year olds has grown 21 percent.
Again, in Jefferson City those over the age of 45 have grown at a rate of 34 percent, a much slower rate than Boone County where the same segment grew at 59 percent.
The Transformation Project has real potential to turn these trends around for Jefferson City. The easiest thing in the world to do is sit on the sidelines and take potshots at someone else’s initiative. I keep hearing about an “influential core of complacency” in Jefferson City. Now is not the time to be complacent.
The questions around accountability and transparency have been legitimate ones. I urge you before you discount the Transformation Project as a whole, educate yourself regarding the why. Understanding the real purpose will compel you to support this important initiative.