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PROPERTY TAXES FOR COPS, II: City manager resurrects defeated idea

A tax hike Columbians must "really, profoundly understand"

COLUMBIA, Mo 3/8/16 (Beat Byte) --
Columbia city manager Mike Matthes is pushing higher property taxes for more cops, which voters defeated just over a year ago.

The Matthes tax hike comes as Columbia is ranked the highest cost of living city in Missouri; and as Columbia Public Schools (CPS), the biggest beneficiary of property taxes, seeks a property tax hike 20% higher than the whopping boost voters defeated in 2008.

"
We will find ourselves at a tax rate among the highest in the state," Supt. Peter Stiepleman, Ph.D. said, if voters approve the CPS hike next month.

The Matthes tax increase proposal also ignores an important fact:   How much cash City Hall has on deposit with banks and other institutions.

In 208 numbered savings accounts, city government held an astonishing $300 million as of September 2015, up a mind-boggling 20% from the same period in 2014 (CAFR, Table 13, Page 201).  

That figure does not include another $121 million in retirement, healthcare, and insurance savings accounts.

Using the Columbia Missourian as a trial balloon, Matthes floated the tax hike proposal in a story that portrays city leaders wringing their hands about an old foe: sales tax losses to the Internet.

Unless Congress taxes Internet sales -- highly unlikely in the current political environment -- City Hall will have to ask for a property tax hike, Matthes insisted, calling it "the one thing I could wish for that the community could really, profoundly understand."

"As a servant to the community, I have to put (a tax increase) back on there again and ask the question, 'Do you want more officers or not?   If you do, here’s a way to do it,''' Matthes told the Missourian.

Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she backs the Matthes tax hike. "
Police and firefighters protect property and lives, so I think it makes sense to increase our property taxes," she said.


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