Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Time To End The Parks Tax reviised 6:19 pm

If voters or City Council voted to earmark tax dollars for Capital Projects, why can’t they vote to un earmark these tax dollars. I know I would support suspending the park sales tax and putting the money generated by that tax into the general revenue fund to cover the budget shortfall.

I mean if City Council voted to do something—say like take the Cadillac garage and later change their mind and give it away, that is ok. So why can’t they vote to end the park sales tax. Heck, put it on the ballot, end the park sales tax and put it to wards general revenue.

I do know that when I asked Mayor Pro-Tem Deaver about diverting special sales taxes to the general fund he told me that the transportation tax was very well liked by the citizens, that that tax is fixing up intersections and helping to make traffic flow smoother in Springfield.

All right, Gary, I’ll grant you that one. But let’s talk about the park tax. How much sales tax are we paying to the park board? When does it sunset? We voted in the sales tax for the park, indeed I voted for it, in good times. Now that we are hitting bad times, there are probably more important things to spend our money on than million dollar horse and pony shows and a tricycle park. I know that money is earmarked money.

My question is this: who earmarked it and why can’t it be un earmarked until things straighten out. I know there was a huge push in City Council to pass the CIP last month. Councilman Manley pulled out all the stops, saying the people want this, etc.

I still believe until evidence shows otherwise, that the city knew the revenue wasn’t coming in as strong and pushed the CIP through before the people found out.

I am not an attorney but it appears to me that if the legislature can ignore a vote of the people on issues like term limits or campaign contribution limits. Or if someone doesn’t like a vote turned out, they can resubmit it (stem cell), that our City Council could say we are in financial straits and ask the people to vote to stop the sales tax going to the parks and vote to put that into the general revenue or the police or fireman’s pension plan?

I know I would support that.

I don’t want Springfield to end up like Branson with dang near 10% sales tax and a Branson landing that could be any mall anywhere. But we’re pretty dang close.

One problem that comes up: The parks are a city/county partnership. The county is not in a budget crisis but the city is. Would sales tax in the county still go to the parks and sales tax in the city go to budget fixes? I wouldn't want that if I were a county resident, why should they bail out Springfield, individualistic, what's in it for me type of question. I don't know the answer and I bet no one thought of this when the departments were combined.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greene Co Parks needs an AUDIT! Jodie Adams and her out of control spending needs to stop- she and all of parks admin use city money for Starbucks, trips, stays at resorts, Judy Collins gig last fall cost $15K! The out of control spending is ridiculous, while some parks suffer shortages and lacking proper equipment. Why is Parks paying Arnott a reimbursement of $40K- HIS jail employees salary? The crap at the city's horse farm costs taxpayers almost $100K a year for PERSONAL USE