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Wish list for the Ozarks economy


Congress is going to do something. The House has approved a stimulus package, full of all kinds of goodies–only a few months after “earmarks” was a dirty, dirty word. And the Senate will put a few more pork cutlets into the package.

IRONY ALERT: THIS BLOG POST IS NOT ENTIRELY SERIOUS! PARTS OF IT ARE! WATCH FOR HINTS.

But what do we need in the Ozarks?

Whatever we don’t get here will go somewhere else. No matter how ineffective cash infusions are when injected elsewhere, we’d like it to have it go to waste in the Ozarks, where we know how to spend wisely because we’re not liberals mostly.

We might as well make a list of what we’d like. Would you add to or delete these items?

  1. A new bridge to take some of the load off the beautiful bridge between Branson and Hollister that graces the top of this page.
  2. A technology school in Taney County, where I can send my staff to polish their skills with Adobe Acrobat, CSS and XML and where others can go to learn some real skills. The teachers would be terrific and the scheduling would be very convenient. OTC is great and could do the job with some more funding, but the taxpayers don’t want to help. I suppose there’s not a snowball’s chance of Taney County and Stone County getting into the property taxing district that supports OTC.
  3. A grant to fund the City of Springfield’s pension deficit, so Springfield’s city government can get on track (notice I didn’t say back to normal) and the retirees can have what they were promised
  4. ( IS THIS A JOKE?) A grant to cross-train the Western Taney County Fire Protection District’s volunteers so that they can staff the new Branson airport. When a flight is coming in, the volunteers would be summoned and scurry to the airport to man the flight controls, fueling, luggage handling, security stations, ticket counters and car rentals, then return to their regular jobs. Otherwise, how can the airport afford to fully staff and run a big airport with only a few flights? I wonder how the firefighters would feel about this–maybe we should ask them.
  5. A lien payment fund to pay the millions of dollars owed to contractors, subcontractors and suppliers of building materials, so they can provide for their families this winter. Without the liens, the incomplete projects would be easier to sell.  Not a joke. These people worked for their money.
  6. (THIS IS NOT SERIOUS, BUT MAKES A POINT) Create  a developer park, which developers can rent for press conferences to announce their new projects, replete with bulldozers, hard-hats, and a public address system. This way they wouldn’t have to buy and tear up land and fail to pay contractors, subcontractors and suppliers of labor and materials. If they already have the money in place to make their projects real, they could skip this step and probably wouldn’t want a press conference anyway.
  7. (THIS IS KINDA SERIOUS) A vacation club augmentation program, so that people who bought vacation club memberships in Branson can have the features added to their memberships that they thought they were getting. Or they could get their money back and learn about Travelocity or Cheaptickets.com.
  8. (THIS ISN’T SERIOUS AT ALL, MOSTLY) The development of a new trick for magician KirbyVan Burch who would make unoccupied retail and office space and underperforming motels and restaurants vanish, which would help to assure that Kirby will be loved.
  9. A city attorney for the City of Branson who is wise and whose wise counsel will be heeded. And who will stick around for a few years. Even if there was enough money, could such a person be found?
  10. Comprehensive land use plans, including the creation of zoning districts for Christian, Taney and Stone counties, so that the citizens could get the protection they were entitled to when the majority of citizens voted to have planning and zoning.
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About Harry Styron

I'm a lawyer who lives in Branson, Missouri, whose professional interests involve real estate, construction and local government.

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