I am for the transformation tax because it creates opportunity: opportunity for jobs, opportunity for entrepreneurs, and opportunity for the community to grow as an attractive and quality place for people and business.
It starts with a mindset and a can-do attitude. As a workforce consultant active in several states, I have been impressed with our local leadership both at the chamber and the city and county government in providing a forum, making it easy and open for people to be involved. In the few meetings I attended, I was surprised by the large number of younger people on committees eager and excited about being involved with the process in making our community a better place to live and work.
Are there risks? Of course there are, but doing nothing has a greater risk. The economy is going through some major changes driven by global and macro forces with much of that beyond our control. On the positive side, recent job reports for the nation show the private sector growing jobs, but slowly, with the public sector jobs declining for many of our cities and states. Other news accounts show that the state of Missouri is continuing to have revenue challenges. This does not bode well for Jefferson City.
We may all have different opinions about the merits of the various projects but on balance they deserve our support. Two of my favorite projects are the conference center and the old MSP facility which already is proving to be an enticing attraction for out-of-town visitors. Why? Because these projects once in full operation can provide an almost immediate economic impact with new jobs, and potential new businesses creating taxpayers and taxing opportunities thus providing a rate of return on the investment for the community. By creating new export opportunities with these services we are bringing new dollars to the community and partially offsetting some of those lost state government dollars and services. This in itself will not be enough but with a better city as our product, we will be able to attract larger employers and better paying jobs.
This is a specific community investment program, not an unchecked public spending program. We have to provide the opportunity and place trust in the talent, energy and enthusiasm of our young people and our young upcoming leaders for a better Jefferson City.
This is the future for our children and grandchildren.