Sunday, August 06, 2006

Vote yes on city/county parks tax(News-Leader take)

YES, folks this is the very same news forum jounalism which gave us the infamous WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING AUDIT.
Doug Burlison was made out to be a nut case with an axe to grind, the individual members of the Libertarian Party,with individual police officers, fire fighters, and concerned citizens of Springfield were told we were barking up the wrong tree. After all KPMG is such a world reknown auditing firm that the concept of mismanagement of funds was unthinkable.
Once again the SNL has decided to recommend that we the taxpayers allow a government entity to take even more of our hard earned money so the City of Springfield can achieve some status within the state.

The following links dispell the notion that somehow building all these extravagant venues is going to raise the revenue into the city coffers by people visiting the area. When something is built with taxpayer funds then continues to need taxpayer funds for maintenance and upkeep it is hardly a windfall for the citizenry. If parks are so needed and generate revenue why isn't the private sector stepping up to the plate to funds these MONEY making propositions?
Quite easy really they don't make money and the cost to maintain these properties isn't offset by any financial gain.

Growth demands need for parks improvement.

There are two simple reasons to support the Springfield/Greene County parks tax increase when you vote on Tuesday:

1. The parks board has been a good steward of your tax dollars.

2. If the city and county want to continue to have a world-class parks program as the area grows, then more revenue will be needed.

We believe both of those premises are true, and that's why we encourage voters to say yes to a quarter-cent sales tax increase for parks in Greene County.

The proposal, which will raise $50 million over five years, is a continuation of a long-term vision that was developed by citizens and has been supported by the community time and time again. Voting yes finishes improvements to Dickerson Park Zoo that were started with the last parks tax increase. Voting yes spends money on improved parks and aquatic facilities in the north (Doling Park and Grant Beach Park) and gets the ball rolling on a park and family center east of U.S. 65, a fast-growing and underserved corridor. Voting yes continues to improve sports complexes such as the Cooper Tennis Center that serve as an economic development engine, bringing millions of dollars to our city when families fill up hotel rooms and buy food and other goods in our community during trips to Springfield for soccer, softball or tennis competitions. Voting yes protects watersheds and brings about necessary improvements to historic parks such as Sequiota Park. Voting yes continues an efficient cooperation between the parks board and the Springfield Public Schools as taxpayers dollars create flexible green spaces that can be used by schoolchildren and taxpayers.

Voting yes fulfills the promise of a higher quality of life for our community.

There is a downside, of course, to higher taxes. If voters say yes, they will have created a permanent quarter-cent sales tax over the past 10 years. Eventually, these fractions of a cent add up. In Springfield, with its multitude of taxing districts, recently approved bond issues for a power plant and better schools, eventually the added taxes will create a burden for those on fixed incomes. Frankly, we hear the voices of some critics who wonder why we would continue to approve parks taxes in our community while saying no to higher law enforcement taxes or sitting idly by as our city struggles to find money for raises for police officers and firefighters.

But we believe it's important to see the bigger picture. Saying no to the parks tax will not magically free up some money in the general revenue accounts of the city. Quite the opposite. Better parks lure businesses to town and help others maintain quality employees. Better parks help pay for themselves by bringing visitors to town who help produce higher sales tax revenue. This year's sales tax collections in Springfield, for instance, increased by more than 8 percent as of March — more than triple last year's increase during the same time. This doesn't happen by accident.

Our city is growing because it's a wonderful place to live. The parks are a big part of that equation.

Tuesday's vote continues to fulfill a vision that citizens had long before some of us came to the Ozarks. It's a vision that sees a growing city and makes sure that we have a connection to all parts of the city through our parks and trails system. The brilliance of the plan is that with every yes vote, the parks board secures enough money to pay for the future improvements. That's important because some day, money might be tight and we will have to say no.

That's not the case today. The parks board has earned the trust of voters in Springfield and Greene County. It has a job to do to continue to make this a beautiful place to live.

Let's give it the money to do that job.

Vote yes on the local parks tax.

VOTE NO on all tax increases, bond measures, and vote out all incumbents. We demand accountability.

Tom Martz(libertarian)
candidate for the 139th

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