For Each Their Own in Cape Girardeau County
It seems that an attempt by local governments in Southeast Missouri to work together and share revenues from overlapping developments is coming to an end. The Southeast Missourian has the story via Combest. Local governments in St. Louis County share sales-tax revenues via a pool, and if it can work here it can certainly work elsewhere. Here is an op-ed I wrote on that subject.
I was interested to learn that last session the state Legislature passed changes to the law making it easier for local governments to share revenues from developments along city borders. That is a very good move. And before anyone cries "socialism," please remember we are talking about money that already goes to the government this isn’t a proposal to send more private money to the government. It’s not socialism to have different government entities share the same pot of money. The mayor of Jackson, which rather than Cape Girardeau is the county seat, summed up the failure to reach an agreement nicely:
Jackson Mayor Barbara Lohr said unwillingness to share revenue now could have an impact if Jackson is asked to support a major development with tax revenue.
Sounds fair to me. Why would Jackson support projects with tax dollars (which they should not do for other reasons, too, but let’s stick to the point at hand) if all the revenues from the project are going to go to other governments? At least when St. Louis County sends money to St. Louis City, the county hopes to get something for it, like more county hotel room bookings, etc.
It is a shame that the two cities and the county could not work out an agreement on how to split the pie of the proposed Wal-Mart development. If 91 cities in St. Louis County can do it, it amazes me that Jackson and Cape Girardeau can’t work something out. It sounds like their local leaders need to take a junket to Clayton and Richmond Heights to see how local communities can share services and save tax dollars.