Welfare for the rich.
That's what the city utility tax exemptions for large businesses represent. I wonder how many Jefferson City taxpayers knew that some businesses are getting tax breaks while the rest of us have to pay the full amount specified by ordinance on our utility taxes?
I turned on my trusty flashlight and poked it inside this black box and found that three other businesses are getting the same $15,000 tax cap break. I don't know how much this add up to per year, but I suspect it's a lot. It will take a more powerful flashlight and more time for me to figure out how much revenue has been lost to the city in these kinds of "deals."
At a time when there is a $1.68 million budget shortfall, our City Council prefers to offer the wealthy and successful tax breaks, rather than closing these tax breaks. Some of these firms have had these caps in place for decades. I believe that the city should give notice that all these tax caps will end in one year. That is more than fair.
As usual the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce is deeply involved with this. That doesn't surprise me. That's the Chamber's job.
How many more skeletons are rattling around in Jefferson City government's closets?
Well, I know of at least one more. It is called "industrial development revenue bonds" and it's a sneaky way for some businesses to get out of paying property taxes and sales taxes.
More on that some other time.