Jefferson City Downtown Patrons Mum on Half-Cent Sales Tax Measure

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JEFFERSON CITY - On a quiet Sunday afternoon, most business owners and shoppers are staying quiet in downtown Jefferson City about a half-cent sales tax increase that's on the ballot in about two weeks.

More than a dozen business owners and shoppers turned down interviews about the Transform Jefferson City measure for a variety of different reasons - including that the issue is too complex or too controversial.

However, some people are still speaking out.

"Those that do support it understand what it's about and how it will help the growth of downtown Jefferson City the beautification of and many other things that go on downtown," said Jay Cheshire, the General Manager for J. Pfenny's Sports Grill and Pub. "And I know for the last few years, that's been a big push for the community."

Opposition has been mounting against the sales tax in recent weeks. Last week, the Citizens for Fair Tax Group organized against the proposal citing that the sales tax would put an unnecessary burden on Jefferson City residents.

Those who support the tax say it's for the better good of the city.

"To me, it's a half-cent investment in our community," said Ken Hussey, Co-Chair of the Transform Jefferson City Campaign. "Not a tax that goes off to a different government entity we don't see."

If passed, the sales tax would expire in ten years and collect around $50 million for 30 community-based projects - including improvements and renovations to the downtown district, the old state penitentiary, and the soon-to-be-vacant St. Mary's Hospital site.

The tax would raise the sales tax in Jefferson City from 7.725% to 8.225%.

For more information on the Transform Jefferson City projects, visit the campaign's website.