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Tax means business for contractors

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Springfield contractors and subcontractors are hoping that if the increase in the city's hotel and motel tax passes, they will get some work out of the deal.

"It should create more work. Somebody's going to have to do something," said Jim McGuire, president of the Southwest Missouri Subcontractors Association and owner of McGuire Plumbing.

Randy Hawkins, president of the Springfield Contractors Association and general manager of Conco, said the tax passing could "bring more projects to bear."

"There will be more dollars spent on construction because of it. There are projects that will be funded through this effort, and those will get off the ground," Hawkins said.

Elise Crain, of Increte of the Ozarks, said that the construction projects that will take place if the tax passes would create jobs for the Ozarks.

"This will create not only construction jobs for our workers, but permanent jobs in the area," Crain said.

The projects themselves will not be the only work created; Morris Dock, president of MoDoCo, said that businesses in the proposed Civic Park area will need to relocate.

"Lynn and George Thompson will need a new home for their business, and other businesses may be cropping up around these new attractions, so the initial projects could have a multiplying effect," Dock said.

Dock said the construction economy would be good in Springfield with or without the work, but that it "would certainly help."

Increte of the Ozarks specializes in decorative concrete; the company has worked on John Q. Hammons' University Plaza and is set to add some concrete work to the Chateau on the Lake. Crain said the company is excited about Hammons' proposed civic center.

Crain also said the added level of development would bring the opportunity for more training in the construction industry, since the structures will be new and unique.

"This will give us in Springfield an opportunity to gain some new skills in the industry," Crain said.

The capacity for building what will need to be built is here now, Hawkins said; no additional contracting companies should crop up as a direct result of the new business, although the industry is constantly changing, he said.

"This year looks like it will not be a boom year, but it will not be a bust year, either. This added work could place us on the higher side of things rather than remaining stable," Hawkins said.

Joe Greene, a certified public accountant who works with contractors frequently, said he expects a lot of construction projects to be out to bid in Springfield if the tax passes.

"This could have a lot of financial impact. There will be a lot of lumber, supplies, insurance, etc. that will be used as a result," Greene said.

The Springfield Contractors Association's board of directors voted to support the hotel and motel tax effort, and to donate $500 to the campaign.

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