"Keep a good thing going" is one of the advertising slogans being used to promote Amendment 1, which will appear on the Aug. 8 ballot. Amendment 1 asks Missouri voters to renew the parks and soils sales tax that has been in place since 1984. The one 10th of a cent sales tax has been a good thing and its revenue has directly benefitted the Barry County area through numerous parks and soil and water conservation programs.
Amendment 1 is a statewide issue that has strong grassroots support and is being supported by such groups as the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Parks Association and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Revenue from the sales tax, which generates $82 million annually, is divided evenly between state parks and soil and water conservation programs. With Cassville serving as home to Roaring River State Park, we can see the sales tax at work in our own backyard. Many of the improvement projects that have been completed at Roaring River over the past 22 years would not have been possible without the influx of funding provided by the parks and soil sales tax.
When the tax was enacted, Missouri's park system was in desperate need of maintenance and infrastructure improvement. Sales tax money was used to enhance state parks, and as a result, the state park system attracts more and more visitors each year. It is estimated that Missouri parks produce an annual economic impact of $538 million. Now that's a good return on investment.
Another positive result of increased funding for soil conservation programs in the state is the fact that Missouri's soil erosion rate has been cut in half since 1984. By reducing the flow of sediment into area streams, the state's water quality has improved.
The state parks system and the state's soil and water conservation programs receive no funding from general revenue. These entities are totally dependent upon the sales tax as a primary funding source. Over and over again, it has been proven that the sales tax revenues are being put to good use and the money is producing results. Amendment 1 deserves voter approval, and we would urge area residents to vote "YES" on Aug. 8. By casting your ballot in favor of Amendment 1, you're voicing your support for renewal of an existing tax. You won't be approving creation of a new one.