The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
Let's see if I have this straight – the folks who are putting in that big new development out there between Wal-Mart and KOKO want a special sales tax. They're going to put in businesses that want to make a profit by selling stuff to us, and they want to charge us an extra sales tax to pay for putting in the development. What chutzpah! Even worse, they want everyone who shops at Wal-Mart to pay the extra tax as well.
These people doing the Hawthorne Development already wheedled out a tax break called a Neighborhood Improvement District. Now, they discover that the area will be harder to develop than they originally thought, so they want more money forcibly extracted from the pockets of potential customers, not only of their hypothetical businesses, but also Wal-Mart.
What would this do to shoppers? Warrensburg’s sales tax rate is already 7.6%; it will go to 7.85% if the jail proposal is approved in the stealth election Tuesday. Throw on the extra 1/2 cent they want and we'd be paying 8.35% to shop at Wal-Mart. That's HIGH! And, guess what, we don't get to vote on their tax. If Wal-Mart or the City agrees, it's a done deal.
I studied a bit of economics in my college days, and I learned that in the free market system businesses are supposed to stand or fall based on their own effort. Those that underestimate costs or overestimate returns aren't guaranteed a profit and don't need to be bailed out by taxpayers, especially to the detriment of owners of other developable land nearby.
The City Council and Wal-Mart management need to give us all a break with a resounding NO to participation in this bail-out scheme.
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