No Taxation without Representation
“most Americans couldn’t care less about economic growth because for years they’ve got few of its benefits, while suffering most of its burdens”
A Transportation Development District (TDD) is a separate political entity in which transportation infrastructural improvements in and near to the district can be funded by a tax levy on the businesses and properties within the district.
TDD formed. One cent sales tax to begin April Fools Day —
Really — and WE are the fools!
How do you spell T-A-X-A-T-I-O-N W-I-T-H-O-U-T R-E-P-R-E-S-E-N-T-A-T-I-O-N?
City calls for TDD election. Only TDD property owners may vote.
Judge Hickle has recused himself. John Beger is the new judge presiding over the TDD.
County Commissioners postpone vote on
Westside Marketplace TIF
City publishes new timeline for TDD.
County Commissioners to vote June 14 on
Westside Marketplace TIF
The county commissioners will probably vote on the TIF on Tuesday, June 14. Meeting starts at 9:00am in the Phelps County Courthouse.
Please consider contacting your commissioners and/or attending their meeting on June 14 and asking them to vote this tax-giveaway down.
Here's the contact information for the Phelps County Commissioners:
Randy Verkamp 573-458-6120 email@example.com
Gary Hicks 573-458-6122 firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Stratman 573-458-6121 email@example.com
The Rolla city council will meet on Monday, June 20 at 6:30pm in council chambers at city hall.
Please consider contacting the mayor, council and city administrator and/or attending their meeting on June 20 and asking them to vote this tax-giveaway down.
Here's the contact information for Rolla city officials:
Judge Hickle grants city leave to amend TDD
TIF Commission votes unanimously to recommend
Westside Marketplace TIF
This scheme must first be voted upon by the Phelps County Commission. They will probably vote the morning of Tuesday, June 7. That gives you six more days to call and email your commissioners and tell them to vote this tax-giveaway down. Then show up at 9:00 am, Tuesday, June 7 at the Phelps County Courthouse and tell your commissioners face to face to vote NO.
Here are the minutes of the March 23 meeting of the TIF commission and the minutes of the May 4 meeting of the TIF commission. The May 4 meeting was well attended with many citizens speaking out against the TIF. My presentation was an exposé of Menards. It is a part of the official minites.
The May 18th meeting was not so well attended; but several citizns spoke out against the TIF. Only one speaker was in favor. I presented a summary of all the reasons I've given them in the past to not recommend the TIF. I also gave this summary presentation to the county commissioners on May 24.
And here is the resolution to recommend the Westside Marketplace TIF passed by the TIF Commission on May 18.
City Moves to Amend the TDD
I moved for leave to file suggestions in opposition as a friend of the Court. Judge Hickle granted my motion. I thank judge Hickle for considering my suggestions.
Judge Hickle will rule on the city's motion for leave to amend soon.
Menards has a long history of employee and environmental abuses
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
for violations of federal law.
Managers will have their pay automatically cut 60% if workers unionize. This sets workers and managers at each others throats.
Menards payed $1 million to settle a racial discrimination suit for passing up managers for promotion on the basis of their race.
Abused workers are not careful workers. Minutes after a Menards employee placed a pallet of tiles on a high shelf, it fell on a customer, killing him.
in the State of Wisconsin
“Menard has been a poster boy for environmental violations in Wisconsin. His company has had more run-ins with the Department of Natural Resources than any other state company, receiving millions of dollars in fines for 21 violations. Menards was fined for disposing hazardous waste in 1994, charged by the Minnesota Attorney General in 2003 with manufacturing and selling arsenic-tainted mulch, fined $2 million in 2005 for having a floor drain that Wisconsin DNR officials believed was dumping chemicals into a tributary of the Chippewa River, hit with an administrative order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for damaging a stream that ran through its property in South Dakota and fined $30,000 after an employee dumped a pallet of herbicide on a parking island of a Menard store in Onalaska.”Kent Mueller adds:
“[John Menard] conned one of his teenage warehouse employees into helping him load his pick-up truck with bags of illegally removed asbestos pipe insulation and then proceeded to dump it in a nature preserve”
Legal bullying: Menards has a habit of sueing cities for over-assessment of Menards property.
Boycott: There is a campaign on social media to boycott Menards
Proponents of bringing a Menards to Rolla cite:
Jobs: But what kind of jobs will Menards bring to Rolla? Minimum wage jobs where workers risk being fired for even whispering the word “union,” and managers fear a 60% pay cut should workers succeed in forming a union. I don't believe Rolla needs these kind of jobs.
Taxes: It is quite likely that Rolla would lose tax revenue should the TIF succeed and bring Menards to Rolla. With Lowes, Meeks and the Family Center already in Rolla, the home-improvement builder-supply market is saturated. It is likely that almost every dollar in sales at Menards would mean one less dollar of sales at another Rolla store. And the developer gets to keep half the tax revenue on sales at Menards — a net loss to Rolla and Phelps County.
I also believe that Rolla and Phelps County should break all ties with UTW Realty, the St. Louis developer, and Gilmore and Bell, the public finance law firm, neither of which bothered to tell us what a bad deal bringing a Menards to Rolla would be.
Judge Hickle denied my motion to intervene as a respondent in opposition to the TDD because I do not live or own property in the proposed TDD.
March 29, 2016 update
On March 21, the City of Rolla and Phelps County filed a response asking the Court to deny my Motion to Intervene.
UTW, the St. Louis developer who is the “preferred developer” for the Westside Marketplace TIF was not prepared to present its scaled-back plan, so the open hearing has been continued, this time until 5:30 Wednesday, May 4, in the Phelps County Courthouse, room to be determined later. Their plan will likely be scaled back to a Menards Store only. So if the developer has his way, Rolla will pony up some $30 million through the TDD for road and highway “improvements” to bring traffic to the Westside Marketplace and another $7 million in TIF tax abatements for Menards to set up a store there to compete with Lowes, Meeks and the Family Center.
I mentioned that the project has been so scaled back by now, that if the TIF commission wants to plow ahead with this, they should go back to square one and issue a new Request for Proposals that do not necessarily require developing the entire 154 acres. Quite possibly a local contractor could develop 40 acres and bring in a store that carries a line of products not currently available in Rolla, perhaps even without the need for tax abatements.
On March 18, an anonymous entity sent out a mass mailing asking citizens to attend the March 23 TIF hearing and speak out. This mass mailing was likely at least partially responsible for the excellent turnout. One speaker, although agreeing for the mostpart with the anti-TIF opinions expressed in the mass mailing, expressed outrage that it was sent out anonymously. Knowing first-hand the way dissenters can be treated in Rolla, I can understand, although not necessarily agree with, those who sent out this mass mailing anonymously. I imagine that sending out these well-designed cards with 49 cents postage on each was not cheap, and whoever financed this mailing stands to lose from the proposed TIF.
For an example of what can happen to dissenters in Rolla, consider Donna Hawley, who was charged with felonious assault for attempting to attend a meeting. It took her four long years to clear her name.
I have posted the minutes of the February 24 meeting of the TIF commission here.
TDDs and TIFs are examples of special taxing districts. Here is a very humorous and informative 15 minute John Oliver video on special taxing districts.
I have filed a motion to intervene in the Move Rolla Transportation Development District case asking the Judge to deny the city of Rolla's petition to create the Transportation District. We await future developments.
The public hearing has been continued to Wednesday, February 24 at 5:30 pm when the TIF commission will meet again in the multi-purpose room of the Phelps County Courthouse.
There will be a public hearing on the Rolla TIF at 5:30 Wednesday January 27 at the multi-purpose room of the Phelps County Courthouse. Here are two TIF documents:
The proposed Rolla Transportation Development District (TDD), if approved by the courts, will likely impose an additional one cent sales tax on most businesses in Rolla including Kroger, Walmart and Aldi (The new "Price Gouger" already has an additional one cent sales tax as part of a new Community Improvement District). The one cent sales tax will go to the directors of the TDD which will be elected by the property owners in the district. The people who shop in these stores will have no say over whether the district is formed, who will be directors of the district, or how the tax revenue will be spent.