Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Great Warrensburg Tourism Tax Kerfuffle

The DSJ and Digital Burg have been reporting on the kerfuffle:  the City of Warrensburg is considering taking over the Tourism/Convention & Visitor Bureau functions from the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, and it has created quite a stir among the "usual suspects."  Of course, a lot of the data isn't available to most folks to help them make informed opinions.  I decided to rectify the information gap by obtaining a lot of documents and posting them at www.olddrum.net/tourtax/.   

This site contains documents going back to 1997-8 when the room tax was voted in and the first few years of its operation.  The update contains memos from a meeting in Dec 2012, a position paper developed by city staff, a proposed ordinance change (along with the current ordinance & contract), the Chamber's rather intemperate response to the proposal, links to updated financial data, and, of course, my latest letter to the editor evaluating all this. It also contains a link to a recent DigitalBurg.com report on a City Council Meeting - I'd also include links to the Daily Star Journal's extensive coverage, but that's "subscriber only."

While I am admittedly averse to all taxes, I especially despise those that are imposed by people in one location that will bear almost exclusively on people who do not have a vote on the tax.  Insult is added to injury when the money is squandered.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TIF isn't what they claim

A good article by Show Me Institute about the efficacy of incentives, especially Tax Increment Financing (TIF).  I've always questioned these incentives on the basis that it's unfair to subsidize new businesses to the detriment of the existing, but the study shows that TIF (and other incentives) are seldom effective.  It's time for Warrensburg residents to speak up as the City Council reviews their economic development strategies.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The University Inn flap

I want to make clear how I stand on the flap about granting Jerry Franklin tax credits to redevelop the site of the old University Inn. As a Libertarian, I oppose any action by the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, whether by subsidies (incentives) or by regulatory favoritism. At the local level, if the subsidized establishment is not to hurt existing stores, it must attract new customers not doing business in town. If all it does is change the way the existing pie is cut, then there is no gain for the town and will hurt current firms.

That said, if Jerry Franklin presented a proposal for a TIF, his request should be considered by the TIF commission and reasons given for the rejection. If TIF is never to be considered, the city ordinance establishing a commission should be repealed. It's something called "due process."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Who's Getting the Tax Credits?

Over $10.5 million in tax credits have been issued in Johnson County since 1999. I guess there's a way to check this out, and I doubt if it includes the TDD (aka Walmart tax) for the virtually empty and definitely incomplete commercial development that includes the new movie house.
The Department of Economic Development has one heck of a list of credits available

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hawthorne - I Told You So

So, we've extracted $2million from Wal-Mart shoppers to pay for infrastructure at a virtually- empty development. I argued against it, saying that the free market would provide development when it was economically viable, but city leaders were so blinded by the grandiose visions, they went along with the scam. As Sandra quoted back then reading the stories; "it's a cookbook."

Now, maybe they need to rethink backing the pie-in-the-sky plans for a convention center & hotel proposed by Jerry Franklin. We have two high-quality motels in town that struggle to maintain occupancy outside of the peak events associated with UCM - motels built with private money and which pay taxes without asking for goodies from the city. Is this another "cookbook?"

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What's so hard about asking?

"No answer to question on jail bond spending" article in DSJ

I supported the jail tax issue on the assumption that NONE of the money would be used for current expenditures until the bonds were paid off. Now, it appears the County Commission will siphon off $160K per year. That isn't what we voted for.

Our County Auditor, who was swept aside in the November Republican landslide, asked our county officials to get an Attorney General's opinion on the legality of this diversion. They wouldn't do it. She asked our local State Representative to request the opinion - he didn't think it was worthy of asking.

Think about it - if they can take $160K this year, what's to prevent them from taking as much as they want, as long as the bonds are paid off in 25 years? Did Mr. Brenner pull off a final bait and switch before leaving office? Do the current commissioners & our State Representative have a reason for stonewalling the request? Do any of them even have a clue what this looks like?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prescription Sudafed

It appears the governor wants to make all us sinus sufferers get prescriptions for the most effective non-drowsy remedy. We're already treated like suspicious persons when we buy it at the pharmacy. I heard the Deputy Atty Gen on the radio talking about its effects the way they used to talk about marijuana ("Reefer Madness").

I wonder if anyone considered that meth labs & the property crime associated with obtaining ingredients would disappear if users could obtain the drug legally? Squeeze the balloon with restrictions in one state (or all states) would just drive up the costs for users & brewers, result in more property crime to get the money, and further enrich the bloody drug cartels/gangs who would step up & fill the demand.