Hundreds of e-mails are going out from the Chamber, begging the recepients to vote for the sales tax. The City Commissioners who are in the Chamber’s pocket are advocating for the sales tax. And… a County Commissioner who has no conscience about people’s food costing more or people’s necessities costing more is a major cheerleader for the tax.
The tax has 3 components…
1. County road maintenance. A large portion of the dollars will go to maintain Riley County roads outside Manhattan. This money does NOT go to maintain our City streets, yet the citizens of Manhattan will pay the bulk of the dollars. Road maintenance should be budgeted for and paid for by those who use the roads… not people who live in Manhattan who are eeking by each week or people who live in surrounding counties.
2. Economic development. A portion of the sales tax revenue will be handed to the Chamber. We are told this revenue will somehow “make” hundreds of jobs. Manhattan has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the State. We are a dynamic community with NBAF on the way and additional spin off entities. Do we really need to hand the Chamber dollars to jet to conferences here and meetings there to ask people to locate businesses here? Do we really need to hand the largest employers in the area even more dollars to spend on their private aircraft and Lexus autos?
3. Debt reduction. The final portion of the sales tax will go to pay down the escalating debt load of the City of Manhattan. Why should we be coerced into paying a small portion of the tax for debt reduction, just so a few can retain their handouts? Why have just the Manhattan businesses in Riley County pay for this debt reduction and not the businesses located in Pott County? WalMart… Dillons East… Murdock Chevrolet… Menards… GTM… there are dozens of businesses that would NOT charge the sales tax, even though they are located in Manhattan… just not in Riley County. If the City Commission would implement a city-wide sales tax on the April 2013 election cycle, we could get far more “bang for our buck” in paying down the City debt.
This is a tax geared to benefit a few… at the cost of many. No retiree on fixed income… no single parent family trying desparately to stretch food dollars… no one should be asked to take money out of their pockets and hand it to large corporations making millions. But, that’s what you will be voting for if you support this tax.
No matter what the outcome, we must all work together after the election. I see no way the money the Chamber has spent to promote this tax won’t guarantee its success at the polls. If it does pass, we must still impress upon our elected officials the importance of spending every available cent for debt reduction. We must stay close to the County Commission, stressing the need for them to run a tight ship and not depend on this revenue stream for eternity.
Please vote NO!!!