“They say that Boone County never met a sales tax it didn’t like. Well I guess tonight it found one,” said Steven Spellman, spokesperson for the opposition of proposition EPIC.
Two thirds of Boone County voters opposed Proposition EPIC, the ballot initiative requesting an eighth of a cent increase in sales tax to fund the development of the Central Missouri Events Center, and other parks and recreational projects. More than 9,200 voted in support of the measure, with more than 18,000 casting votes against.
Spellman said public voice, including his own, had a role in changing the conversation around the measure. He said this was an unfair tax.
“They came out with a bailout to tax and to spend, to tax food and local people making – buying – life essentials, and I don’t think that’s responsible.”
Boone County District II Commissioner Janet Thompson says this was one of the best options because the projects it would have been funding, like the Central Missouri Events Center, are major economic drivers.
“You sell the community once you get here, but you have to get them here somehow, and that's the place to bring people to our community,” she said. “It’s one of the best option because when you look at a sales tax, 30-40% of that sales tax is brought to us by people from outside our community.”
Keegan Dalfonso, who attended the opposition watch party, doesn’t agree.
“Something like the Events Center should be privately owned and operated. There is no reason why it should cost us money. Because that should be able to pull in the revenue to fund itself,” said Dalfonso.
Steering committee member David Thomas says the Events Center brings in close to $7 million a year. He says this has important economic value for Boone County. However, the grounds will need a lot more money than that to get back on its feet. Boone County District I Commissioner Karen Miller says that the facility will need to close without the funds.