More of the Same in Springfield’s New Buc-ee’s CID
The Springfield City Council just repeated an all-too-common Missouri mistake. The council passed a bill creating a new community improvement district (CID) off I-44. Bill 2022-124 subsidizes the construction of a new Buc-ee’s gas station in the area by hiking the sales tax Buc-ee’s consumers pay by 0.625%.
Like most special taxing districts in Missouri, the Buc-ee’s CID will use public funds for private infrastructure. The new sales tax rate at Buc-ee’s will only benefit the company itself—the tax dollars collected at the gas station will mostly go toward constructing the building, access road, and parking lot. From its first day of operation, corporate welfare will support the business one Springfield resident referred to as “a beaver Walmart.”
Most residents of Springfield will have no say in this matter. The city drew the boundaries of the CID in such a way that all voters are excluded—only the city council got to vote on this. Show-Me Institute Director of Municipal Policy David Stokes called this “tax gerrymandering” in his testimony on this issue. In addition, four out of the five members of the Buc-ee’s CID board are listed as “Owner Representatives,” leaving only one seat for a citizen to provide a public perspective. Even once the CID is in effect, most of Buc-ee’s customers will likely have no idea about the extra hit to their wallets, since the CID Act doesn’t require any posting of added sales taxes.
Years of writing and research from Institute analysts on CIDs prove that proposals such as these are nothing new. Private developers use the public’s money to subsidize corporate interests with almost no public input. This process with special taxing districts has played out countless times before, both in Greene County and around our great state. You can see for yourself just how widespread CIDs are in Missouri by following the link to this interactive map from the Missouri Department of Revenue. Hopefully Springfield, and cities across the state, will soon learn that this isn’t a mistake worth repeating.