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Your Opinion: Transformation sales tax favored

Your Opinion: Transformation sales tax favored

December 29th, 2011 by Joe Scheppers, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

I would like to share some facts about Jefferson City Transformation based on my experience as a volunteer for the original initiative and now the campaign itself.

• When the Feb. 7 ballot question is passed, the management and accountability of the funds and projects will be conducted in the light of day at meetings open to the public. The newly formed Transformation Economic Development Tax Board will review and recommend the plans and the elected City Council will have final authority on their implementation.

• The conference center elements of the initiative would add $5 million for a much needed exhibition hall and an additional $5 million for aesthetic enhancements to the already planned structure. As for the location, we simply want it to be built soon and have no recommendation on the ultimate site. Our capital city is home to hundreds of statewide associations that currently take their meeting business elsewhere due to our current lack of a suitable facility. Capturing just a portion of this business will be an economic shot in the arm for the entire area.

• Yes, our sales tax rates will be slightly higher than Columbia and some other communities in the short run. Most of those communities have higher overall tax burdens than Jefferson City when other taxes such as property tax are included. Remember, the proposed half-cent increase will sunset in 10 years, returning us to lower or comparable rates than most of our neighboring communities. Asking for a sales-tax increase at this time was not an easy decision, but it is necessary if we are to fund the proposed projects and get Jefferson City growing.

Of the 30 projects on the Transform Jefferson City road map, some have been talked about for years and others are new opportunities. The hundreds of citizens involved in Transformation have said the time for talk has passed and the time for action is now.

Volunteers of the Transform Jefferson City election effort are more than happy to answer questions or provide additional facts about the projects at anytime. The campaign can be found 24/7 at www.TransformJeffersonCity.com and there will be more public events and appearances in the coming weeks.

I ask that you please vote yes for Transformation on Feb. 7.