Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 32
Printed in the Warrensburg Gazette February 10, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Our County Commission has officially decided to put a 1.5% County Use Tax on the April ballot. The money from this tax will be used to pave selected gravel roads. The backers of the proposal are requesting donations to "sell" the tax to the voters. Before donating, let alone voting, perhaps we should get a few answers; after all, Missouri is the "Show Me State".

Before the pro-tax committee solicits funds, the Commission should provide their specific paving list for the first four years and their criteria for setting paving priorities. This will put to rest any question of people contributing to secure favored treatment for any specific road. It will also allow voters to judge the paving plan in view of their own traveling experience.

While a Use Tax basically requires individuals & businesses who buy over $2000 from out-of- state sources to self-report & pay the tax, we need to understand exactly what is. Does it make a person who buys a laptop computer in Overland Park (and pays Kansas tax) report and pay Missouri tax, as well? How does this fit in with the legislated moratorium on collecting taxes on internet sales? How will it affect economic decisions, such as expansion or relocation, by local businesses? How will businesses pass this tax along to their customers? I'd hope that the local media can provide unbiased detailed answers to these technical questions.

Another area of concern is road maintenance. On your next trip to Kansas City, check out the pilot project on NW501 (north from the MO-58/US-50) junction and see how it's holding up. Remember that a poorly maintained paved road is a lot slower and harder to drive than your typical gravel road. The County Commission needs to provide estimated maintenance costs per mile of road in their budget.

If news reports are correct, backers of this tax will center their campaign around showing their plan to civic groups, depending on the cities to gather favorable votes. This time, it's not a case of city people telling country people what to do, since the city people & businesses must pay this tax, too. What a novel idea - tax the cities for the benefit of the country!

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