Will the park sales tax be renewed or lost in Columbia’s political shuffle?

Mayor McDavid’s not so sure.

The Missourian has already reported on some of his concerns regarding the parks sales tax that’s up for renewal Nov. 2. Today, Missourian reporters Catherine Meagher and Sarah Horn, along with editors Tom Warhover and Scott Swafford, met with him, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood and City Manager Bill Watkins to discuss the tax proposal.

The proposed five-year renewal of the one-eighth-cent sales tax appears on the ballot alongside some pretty hot topics, such as a proposed ban on Tasers and a statewide proposition putting new restrictions on dog breeders. McDavid worries that a negative political and economic climate could affect voters’ decisions on the parks tax. Voters are angry, McDavid said, and they might take it out on the city.

McDavid cited a meeting he had to discuss the tax with members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. A chamber member spoke up and said voting no on the tax would “teach government a lesson.” His thought: Didn’t you already do that in the April election, when the chamber backed three candidates, including McDavid, who were ultimately elected as newcomers to the City Council.

As Tom Nagel reported in the article linked above, the mayor also worries about the wording on the ballot, which asks voters whether the city “shall impose a tax.” That language, which is dictated by the state, might cause people to mistake the tax for a new one rather than an extension of a tax that’s been in place since 2000.


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