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The Chamber’s board of directors unanimously voted to endorse two propositions for Ozarks Technical Community College that will be on the ballot on April 3 in all or parts of eight southwest Missouri counties. These two issues will help fund crucially important programs for our region’s education and workforce needs.
Now, the Chamber is encouraging members to vote YES on both proposals on April 3.
What’s on the ballot?
Proposition A is a renewal of a five-cent property tax that was approved by voters in 1998. As promised, this tax was used to complete OTC’s Industry and Transportation Technology Center, and it helped establish several additional degree programs in high demand technical and health care fields. That property tax is set to sunset this year; a “yes” vote on April 3 would extend the tax for another 20 years.
If passed, Proposition B would allow OTC to create a Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Technology, offering training in numerous high-demand skills such as mechatronics, precision manufacturing, stainless steel production and 3-D printing. This additional five-cent property tax would provide funding to expand technical and allied health programs and would fund the construction of a new OTC center in Republic. This proposal also has a sunset.
Why vote yes?
The Chamber is committed to continuing its support for education and helping area residents develop the skills they need to connect with the jobs employers want to fill. These are good-paying jobs that will benefit individuals and families as well as the regional economy. And OTC needs the funding support; even if both propositions pass, OTC will still have the lowest property tax levy of any community college district in the state of Missouri at just 20 cents.
The school has proven that it offers incredible return on investment. A study by a national economic research firm recently showed the school contributed $234 million to the southwest Missouri economy in the 2015-2016 school year. Local taxpayers also receive $4.70 for every $1 invested through property taxes – generated by higher local tax revenue through improved salaries earned by students over the course of their working lives. This is an investment in developing local talent, as 95% of OTC graduates stay in Missouri.
In addition, OTC has a proven track record of being accountable for its funding and completing projects as promised, and there are sunset provisions included in both ballot measures.
Area voters have the chance to make our region more competitive and fuel our economic engine in a way that benefits quality of life for years to come. Please support OTC’s well-designed plans to meet growing demands for a skilled workforce in our area. Vote YES for Propositions A and B on April 3!