Branson Leaders Fiscal Irresponsibility Results in Fee Increases - New Taxes Inevitable
The massive spending spree and new expenditures initiated by Mayor Raeanne Presley have leaders scrambling for new revenue sources.
A massive boom from the Branson Landing and its accompanying windfall of income hasn't offset the spending patterns and increased debt since a transition administration took office in 2008. Millions of dollars in consultants, some of which were contracting with the Mayor of Branson prior to her taking office, new categories of expenditures, litigiousness and "mayor fun trips on the public dime" have created a deficit unmatched by previous administrations. Branson's perspective of fiscal conservatism has gone to the wayside and the savings these policies have brought to the municipality have been rapidly squandered over the last three years.
The broken promise of fiscal restraint will be highlighted at tomorrow nights meeting at city hall. Three years of record income have Presley's appointed finance committee currently discussing strategies for raising taxes.
Citizens in Missouri have a defense with Missouri's Hancock Amendment which restrains government entities from rapidly raising tax rates when mismanagement occurs.
Lobbyists funded by Branson taxpayers are being told to fight against the limitations. In other words, public funds are being used to enable higher levies against Branson's residents.
In the meantime new business is coming to a halt. An anti-business and anti-growth policy is successfully being posted with new green initiatives aimed at permanently stopping new development and the accompanying new income. Prior to taking office Presley complained that the new growth in jobs, while the rest of the nation experienced a recession, were forcing her personal business to pay higher wages - poverty benefits some.
Last month the city dished out a $250,000 check to an entity that is helping to create buy-in for furtherance of the anti-business agenda. Carefully constructed questions are designed to give the inevitable answer that economic prosperity is bad for business which will eventually yield catastrophic results on the economic health of the community.
MSU Instructor Linnea Lantria will lecture city officials tomorrow as a plant to assist in the battle against free market economy and individual land rights. The lecture will boast the benefits of eco-tourism and will feature such examples as Egypt and other third world economies as an example for Branson with a presentation entitled "Developing Sustainable Destinations.
Though Gaia or earth worshipers may find the idea appealing, sustainability ignores economic realities. The new Convention Center and Branson Landing were built to increase land values; however, statements and actions taken by city leaders appear to promote the intentional devaluation of city property.
Last nights meeting asked for new fees across the board. The get gain is estimated at $62,000 less than a tenth of Presley's legal battles this year which blatanttly contradict public statements made to the national press.
The public funds given to a handful of law firms to battle in the courts for our mayor have not been openly discussed. While a brief period of openess occured when a new mayor took office, the commitment to open government quickly receded. Even Branson's own consultants have noted the lack of fiscal oversight of tax funds.
A commitment to the Sunshine law has darkened and active efforts to thwart free market principals, essential land rights and economic growth have frightened new businesses from coming to Branson. While Planning and Zoning meetings once dragged to midnight; they are now be canceled.
In the video above both Chris Jordan and Bob Huels note the problems associated with new fees, heavy bureaucracy and an active effort to regulate businesses.
Jordan seems to express regret for not opening a business across the street from Tijuana Willies where fees are substantially less and government less burdensome.
Huels notes that the new policies are emulating less fiscally successful municipalities and discourages new business and the new revenue they bring to the area.
Though the meeting appeared to be a discussion, Presley revealed they were going into effect as soon as possible. Raising fees doesn't require a vote and appears to be a strategy of governance as opposed to a hard look at cutting the new financial burdens recently brought to the city.