Normally gerrymandering in a medium-sized town that doesn’t even pertain to city council elections would be too down-in-the-weeds, but this story from the Columbia Tribune is too funny to ignore.
Self-interested business owners successfully petitioned the Columbia, Missouri, city council to create a local Community Improvement District, which would have the authority to impose a half-cent sales tax increase with voter approval. However, the district lines were drawn in a manner that attempted to avoid containing any eligible voters, meaning that property-owners themselves would get to decide on the sales tax increase as a way to avoid further property taxes to pay for improvements.
Unfortunately for them, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. It soon became known that a single voter, University of Missouri student Jen Henderson, was registered to vote in the new CID.
Henderson said she doesn’t plan to give up her right to vote and feels negative about an increased sales tax — but has not made a decision about how to vote. Henderson said her concerns include vague project outlines, Gartner’s pay, Business Loop improvements she said will help businesses but not nearby residents and how an additional sales tax would affect low-income people purchasing groceries and other necessities.
“Taxing their food is kind of sad, especially when” Gartner “is going to be making like $70,000 a year off of this whole deal,” Henderson said. “These people make a quarter of that. They can barely afford to go buy food, and you’re taxing their food.”