Welcome To The State Formerly Known As Missouri

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Saturday, February 24, 2001

from the get-rich-quick dept.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH CITY (formerly Jefferson City) -- Gov. Bob Holden, facing a severe budget shortfall, has unveiled a new state program to bring in revenue by selling naming rights to corporations.

"We'll never have to collect taxes ever again," Holden said from the Verizon Wireless Governor's Mansion. "By selling naming rights from everything from cities, to highways, to school districts, we'll rake in billions -- nay, trillions! -- each year."

The state has already amassed $400 million in the first week of the new program. Interstate 70 is now known as the "Southwest Airlines Freeway" and the Meramec River is now the "Merrill Lynch River".

"Why didn't we think of this earlier?" asked the State Treasurer. "If the St. Louis Blues and Rams can sell their stadium's names to Savvis and TWA, then why can't Missouri? Forget about agriculture or minerals -- naming rights are this state's primary natural resource!"

Even the name "Missouri" is up for grabs. Microsoft ("Microsoftia"), Anheuser-Busch ("Buschiana"), AT&T ("Ayeteeandtee"), Nike ("Nikeopolis"), McDonalds ("Macland"), and Coca-Cola ("Cokesia") have all offered bids exceeding $50 billion for the right to rename the state.

"Here I was all worried about the Hancock Amendment and how the state budget is in such horrible shape, when the solution was right in front of me! Free money for all Missourians -- or whatever we're going to be called!" Gov. Holden exclaimed.

Cities and counties have also expressed an interest in selling their souls for money. "We've already had a call from KFVS wanting us to change our name to Heartland County in exchange for $50,000," said a Cape Girardeau County commissioner. "What a racket!"

The new program isn't just for corporations, either. Private individuals can contribute a small amount in exchange for a street, creek, overpass, park, bridge, school, or building named after them.

"Why waste our time with boring names like County Road 412, State Highway 177, or Shawnee Parkway when we can rename them to something like Bob Smith Road, General Electric Blvd., or Rust Communications Expressway?" explained an ecstatic Cape Girardeau city concil member (or should we say "Cape Walmart" city council member?)

Experts predict that all of the cities, counties, school districts, and other organizations, along with the state, should be able to raise over $250 trillion from this plan if they sell every name they can.

"If the whole country did this, the national debt would disappear overnight and every citizen would receive annual $100,000 tax credits," boasted one self-proclaimed financial genius.

Nevertheless, some naysayers are saying "nay" over the new plan. "This is an outrage!" screamed a member of the newly formed Keep Missouri Missouri Campaign. "We're turning our state into one giant billboard... and for what? So we can install gold-plated toilets in every public restroom or build a four-lane highway to every house? Has everybody gone insane?"

Indeed, everybody has gone insane. But at least we'll all be rich.