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Your Opinion: Bait and switch on convention center

Your Opinion: Bait and switch on convention center

April 2nd, 2014 by Tim Stallman, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Bait and switch. Taxation rip-off.

The last hour of last Monday's City Council public hearing on the White Elephant Convention Center was a true revelation.

Contrary to what taxpayers were told, both convention center plans will now raise taxes for Jefferson Citians and also use general revenue as a backup. Both convention center promoters are proposing the use of your general revenue money if the tax incentives don't raise enough subsidy money for this red ink nightmare.

That money is your property tax money, not just the money raised by only fleecing out-of-towners, as was promised when the lodging tax increase was sold to voters. This is a classic bait-and-switch tactic. The City Council is planning to put taxpayers on the hook for $327,000 per year if the promoters of this nightmare don't get enough money through creation of special sales tax districts. These sales tax districts may encompass all of downtown and Missouri Boulevard.

Oh and you, the taxpayer, don't get to vote on the sales tax increase, that will be done by a sneaky little board especially created to do such dirty work.

We were told when the lodging tax was sold to the voters, that this would not be necessary. Now it is etched into stone for both projects. The city will be held ransom to the whims of the developers. Lurking in the background in this scam is the Chamber of Commerce, which wholeheartedly endorses the convention center concept, taxpayers be hanged. Why else would the president of the Chamber be the emcee of Monday's dog and pony show?

The use of general revenue takes money away from the fire department, the police department and street maintenance. Wasn't it just a year ago that the city pleaded with voters to pass a special sales tax for the fire department because they were short of money? We were lied to about that, too. Well, now they are throwing those same city services under the bus for their obsession with this convention center.

This is blackmail. Both the Ehrhard's and the Farmer's plans do the same thing, raise your sales taxes for their benefit. The public will not benefit from these projects, only the super rich.

We have been lied to again by the City Council. Call them and let them know you are angry.