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No Sunset On The 911 Tax Hike

Just when I thought the list of problems with Boone County Proposition #1, the 911 tax increase, couldn’t conceivably grow any longer, another problem has come to light. The newest problem might actually be the biggest problem of all. It seems that the authors of the tax increase and funding plan failed to write a sunset provision into the proposal.

The new sales tax, that will affect every purchase from food to Ferraris, will generate an estimated $9.3 million annually. Of this $9.3 million, $2.2 million will repay the bond debt incurred to purchase $8.7 million worth of new equipment and build an $11.3 million above-ground bunker. $6.4 million of the $9.3 million will fund the annual budget. That leaves around $600,000 unaccounted for, but who’s counting?

So what happens if the economy recovers and the new sales tax generates more funds than estimated? Even without an economic boom the CID sales tax far outperformed estimations. So what happens to the $2.2 million in annual debt payments when the bond debt is completely retired?

My guess is that it will become the only two words Boone County politicians and bureaucrats love to hear more than “tax increase…,”

…SLUSH FUND!

And remember, it’s only $2.2 million if the economy fails to improve and we fail to add the extra $600,000 into the slushy equation.

slush fund mllionaire copy

Without a sunset provision, this tax has the potential to create a slush fund well in excess of $3 million per year. What more could a rural Missouri county government ask for?

With both the proposed and impending state sales tax increases coupled with the 911 tax, Columbia’s sales tax will be pushed to at least 8% with the possibility of ending up well over 9%. Our city and county governments will get a taxpayer bailout after decades of poor financial stewardship. We will have an Emergency Management castle on the Sheriff’s campus that was neither vetted by the public nor subject to competition from any alternative plans. This grandiose plan and budget will be controlled by just three county commissioners and an advisory board comprised of government bureaucrats and a few hand-picked citizens. And all the while the City of Columbia will go on wasting money on parking garages, airline guarantees, and refinishing Blind Boone’s bathroom instead of funding public safety — all on the backs of our hardworking taxpayers.

Oh yes, and Boone County will have its very own slush fund as soon that the debt is paid.

We must stop this silliness and demand that our elected leaders come back to the table with a reasonable plan and a new set of fiscal priorities that put basic public safety at the top of the list and pet projects at the bottom.

Boone County 911 Emergency Management and Joint Communication must be fixed immediately without further burdening the taxpayer.

Vote NO on Boone County Proposition #1 on April 2nd

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Keep Columbia Free Opposes New 911 Tax

Download printable press release HERE

There is little doubt that the Boone County Emergency Management and Joint Communications 911 system faces serious operational challenges and difficulties. Something should be done to address its problems, but a tax hike to fund an exorbitant, unaccountable budget is not the correct approach.

Taxes are already high and this proposed tax increase will push the sales tax rate in many local stores to over 8 percent. A tax increase on basic goods is ill-conceived, especially when many families are struggling to survive in a troubled economy.

In fact, we citizens are already paying enough to fund these emergency operations, but decades of financial mismanagement at the hands of elected officials and government bureaucrats have squandered these funds. Our elected officials have neglected these fundamental emergency services in favor of other more glamorous and less needed budgetary objectives aimed at making headlines rather than providing safety. The proposed tax hike is nothing more than a bailout from the taxpayer for these elected leaders who have misspent our hard-earned tax dollars.

The proposed 911 budget stands as an excessive increase that will more than triple the current annual budget, moving it from $2.7 million to $8.7 million, and concentrate $20 million in the hands of just three county commissioners in the first year alone. These professional politicians, each with an annual salary in excess of $80,000, rule by consensus. No guarantees and few details have been released about the planned $11.3 million building or how the remainder of the $20 million lump sum and the $8.7 million annual budget will be spent. It is wrongheaded to take these extra funds from the citizens and pay them to the county government where there is limited representation, no firm plans for the new multi-million dollar building, no accountability, and no guarantee that our current crop of elected officials and appointed bureaucrats will be better stewards of these funds than those of the past.

We demand that politicians find a way to adequately fund and manage our 911 services without further burdening the hardworking taxpayers of Boone County. We demand that our elected officials examine their spending priorities and work within their existing means.

Please VOTE “NO” on Proposition #1 (the 911 tax) on April 2nd.

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