News that’ll make you smile

Posted: 11/20/2015 in Screwed

News from the Village outpost in Columbia, MO is not good.  It seems some local business owners came up with a fantastic new way to print money for themselves, and it backfired.

Here was how the scheme was supposed to work:  the Village People formed a Community Improvement District (CID) to raise money for capital improvements for a small area of shops, etc.  Their idea was to control the sales tax in their area by gerrymandering the district so much it only included their businesses (and no actual people).  You see, they’d discovered that there was a law on the books that said whenever a district had no actual people, then the property owners in the area, even if they lived outside the area, became the voters on any proposals.  With that law in their pockets, they wrote up a proposal for a sales tax extension geared for property improvements (sidewalks, trees, etc.).  Hidden in the proposal was a diversion of most of the funds back to the property owners themselves.  This meant that the area shoppers would be paying an extra tax on sales that enriched the business owners instead of helping the public.

Under the law, a sales tax can be imposed only by the voters within a jurisdiction, unless there aren’t any. Then it can be enacted by a vote of the property owners within the district. The sales tax is the property owners’ preferred option, because it imposes the costs on outsiders, namely shoppers. Without the sales tax, the property owners have to shoulder the costs themselves.

So far, so good.  Then a turd floated to the top of the punch bowl.  While they were patting themselves on their collective backs, the CID overlooked one single person living in their district: a college student named Jennifer Henderson.  Ms. Henderson, as the sole voter in the district, was having none of this.  They tried everything to get her to vote their way, not register to vote, or move, but she held firm.  So the CID decided to postpone their proposal to a later date.

My guess is they’ll hold the vote right after Henderson graduates and moves out of the area.  But even so, this is a win — for now.  Once this actually passes, however, I hate to think what the fallout will be.  Don’t you think the politicians would love to have lots of little “no voter” districts in their pockets?  Well…


Be seeing you.


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