As chair of the board of the JC Area Chamber of Commerce, I was given a unique perspective this past year. I attended many Transformation meetings of the nine action teams and their sub-committees. There were people from all walks of life involved and they asked some very tough questions. I heard first hand how much this final list of projects need to happen. The research that was done (through surveys, personal interviews, focus groups and reviewing all possible existing reports/documents) makes these projects very viable. They wouldn't have survived the scrutiny if they weren't!
Something that sticks out in my mind is an article titled, "Chamber Takes Consultants on Tour of Area," which appeared in the News Tribune, Sept. 28, 2011. It details the events of a regional tour for national economic development site selectors from California, Chicago, Arizona and Nebraska. I got to meet the site selectors over dinner and casually told them about the Transformation process. Their extreme interest somewhat surprised me. They told us that if this passes, we should notify all of the site selectors in the U.S. to let them know what our community has done.
It was their opinion that businesses are very impressed when a community takes it upon itself to make these kinds of strides for economic development. We know that not very many businesses are expanding or relocating these days. Of those that are, Jefferson City is not getting much attention. Although we can't count on something other businesses might do until they actually happen, we know that doing what we have been doing hasn't attracted the attention of very many outside businesses. Transformation gives us a competitive edge.
I understand when people say they don't want more taxes. But, let's not forget that we are not sending our money to Washington D.C. or even the state of Missouri. This tax will not be mixed with appropriations for other communities. The Transform Jefferson City half-cent sales tax is a 10-year investment in our own community - for projects that we will see come to fruition within our city's walls.
Let's not forget that excitement and positive action are contagious. Just as the site selectors told us, businesses will be more interested in us if we take this next step. There is a lot to be excited about.
Please learn more and vote yes to Transform Jefferson City on Feb. 7.