Jefferson City Tax Hike Reaches Opposition

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JEFFERSON CITY - The election campaign in Jefferson City known as Transform Jefferson City met for a public briefing and open house Wednesday. Randy Allen, President of the city's chamber of commerce, lead the discussion on a proposed half-cent sales tax.

If voters approve the transformation half-cent sales tax on the February ballot, it will fund economic development projects over a ten year period. In total, it would fund $50 million in improvement projects that are citizen designed and managed.

The tax hike would raise the current tax of 7.725 percent to 8.225 percent. The additional funds would be used for a total of 30 improvement projects, but the campaign is focusing on five in five years. Those include the state penitentiary, a city conference center, downtown and old town.

"The young professional population was dwindling in Jefferson City based on some demographic research that the county had engaged in a couple of years ago. So we need things that would attract talent, retain young professionals, and help this community stay on the cutting edge of the 21st century," said campaign co-chair Ken Hussey.

If passed, five non-elected citizens would be appointed to serve on a committe with the city council to oversee the projects. Other non-voting representatives would also offer insight.

The campaign claims this allows the projects to be citizen-directed. In fact, it calls the projects "self-funded" by citizens' tax dollars. However, opponents of the bill argue that the project is really council operated and managed, not citizen as implied.

More information can be found on the campaign's website.