City Council Hears Anti-EEZ Testimony

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COLUMBIA - Columbia City Hall hosted nearly 100 protesters before, during and after the City Council's meeting Monday night. Many protesters even made their way into the meeting to witness two of their leaders plead with the council to refuse Enhanced Enterprise Zones (EEZ) in Columbia. Both David Stokes of Show-Me Institute Market Research and Keep Columbia Free's Treasurer Mitch Richards spoke in front of the council.

Stokes has been in charge of a research program studying the history of other enterprise zones across Missouri. Some of his findings suggest EEZ may not have any effect on Columbia.

" We found that there was really no difference between 1980 and 2005 in the growth of these totals. The counties that had adopted enhanced enterprise zones did no better by any measure compared to their neighboring counties that did not adopt them at all."

As for Richards, his words for City Council centered around a more humanized argument, rather than the numbers. His conclusion addressed those in the audience listening to his pleas to the council, when he turned to them and asked all those in opposition to EEZ to stand up. Around 60 of the protesters who made their ways inside the meeting responded by standing up and applauding Richards.

Talk of EEZ concluded with City Council members such as Helen Anthony of the 5th ward expressing their own concerns with EEZ. Anthony said the main concern among council members will be the accountability of the manufacturing companies eligible under EEZ, to the public they're supposed to help.