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…,”
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.
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.