Where I stand...and why
I jumped on the BLOCK "THE BLOCK" wagon.
It's being called the museum tax. But, after the first read-through of the actual sales tax referendum question that, if approved, would raise $40 million to help pay for the Peoria Riverfront Museum, it's obvious there's something missing:
Like the word "museum."
The whole article is
The first sentence of the referendum question reads:
"To pay for public facility purposes, shall Peoria County be authorized to impose an increase on its share of local sales taxes by one quarter of one per cent ( 1/4 percent) for a period not to exceed twenty (20) years?"
The "public facility purposes" refers to the construction of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, but Peoria County voters would need to know that going into the voting booth on April 7 or to the early voting locations before that. Public facility purposes are defined in the statute as those "for use by the county for the furnishing of governmental services to its citizens, including but not limited to museums and nursing homes."
What they say: "...for a period not to exceed twenty (20) years".
What they mean: "Unless we decide we need it longer...and we will."
What they say: "...for use by the county for the furnishing of governmental services to it's citizens, including but not limited to museums and nursing homes."
What they mean: "For any damn thing we want to use it for...and we will."
When all this hoo-haa started about building a museum downtown, I thought it was probably a great idea. Until I started reading a little more about the specifics. And until the economy went into the shitter. So I've decided that I won't support this multi-million-dollar boondoggle. Here's why.
1. It's just plain...fiscally irresponsible right now. Yea, it'll create some jobs. For a couple years. For a couple hundred people. A drop in the bucket.
2. It's not gonna be "free". Oh, Peoria County residents'll get a 15% discount. Whoop-de-fuckin-do. Has anyone notified the Build the Block organization or their supporters that there are a whole lotta people around here that just lost their jobs? And those people can't pay their mortgages or car payments or feed their families? And that the economy's not gonna just bounce right back anytime soon? Not in a year. Not in two years. Do they live in caves, or what?
3. The last I heard, it's not gonna be open on the weekends. (WTF??)
4. I think the attendance projections are highly inflated. Sorry, but I just can't see 360,000 people a year flocking to pay to see exhibits like "The Caterpillar Experience" or the "IHSA Peak Performance Center".
5. I think the projected cost of building the museum is way off, too. When's the last time you saw a multi-million dollar project finished right on (or under) the targeted budget? Not. Gonna. Happen.
6. Did I mention that it's just plain, all-the-way-around, fiscally irresponsible right now? I did, didn't I? Well, it's worth mentioning twice.
BLOCK THE BLOCK