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Transportation districts collect your money with little oversight

$8.4 million has been collected by transportation districts through added sales tax over the past three years. But all the money doesn't go to road projects.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | 10:27 p.m. CDT; updated 7:46 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 3, 2009

You pay an extra 0.5 percent sales tax at certain stores, but you didn't vote on it. Transportation development districts collect that tax at stores within the districts to work on road improvements, but there is little oversight.

Click here to read a Missourian special report, completed over an eight-month investigation, including these stories:

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  • Some Columbia transportation development districts have collected sales tax for years without building anything, which calls into question whether and how anyone is policing them to make sure they follow the law.
  • An eight-month long Missourian investigation found instances in which transportation district policies are in direct violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law and instances in which they are less than open about their meetings and records.
  • The control of five transportation districts in Columbia, and the tens of millions in sales tax revenue they will collect over the districts’ lifespans, rests in the hands of only a few people, all of who stand to benefit from the streets the districts are expected to build.
  • The city of Columbia has changed its tune on TDDs because they might be hurting its ability to levy sales tax for citywide projects. In addition, Columbia TDDs are rethinking their plans because of the dire economy. This is particularly interesting when considering that one-third of total taxable sales in the city come from stores within TDDs.

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Comments

marvin saunders April 30, 2009 | 2:25 a.m.

Iam so glad i don't live or shop in columbia.How long are the people of columbia going to put up with this?Stan and wal-mart keep putting it to you.The city controls the business owners!You got thugs on the police department.The mayor should have a new name and not mayor.It does amaze me how much the people of columbia can take..

(Report Comment)
Michael Scott April 30, 2009 | 10:55 a.m.

Without these TDD's, badly needed road projects would never get completed. These districts are a great benefit to this community.

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