I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many an obituary with a great deal of satisfaction. –Mark Twain
That quote from Missouri’s favorite son comes to mind every time I hear the name Rex Sinquefield. I want to outlive that sumbitch just so I can wear a red dress on the day of his funeral, and frame that obituary and hang it in my parlor.
He’s a libertarian loon who won’t be happy so long as there is a working person anywhere in the state who belongs to a union, earns a living wage or enjoys the benefits of taxpayer funded services. He wants all the money in the pockets of people like him.
The only “people like him” I can think of are the Koch brothers.
That’s actually pretty apt…Rex Sinquefield is the Koch brothers writ small. He isn’t trying to destroy the entire country – they have that covered – he is just concentrating on trying to destroy Missouri – or the liberal cities therein, anyway.
Instead of just paying his financial advisors the modest fees they earn sheltering the money of rich people, Sinquefield pours million of dollars into trying to change the tax code so more of the burden of providing the minimal public services he envisions for Missouri would be borne by those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
One of his pet issues is eliminating the state income tax and replacing it with a sales tax – the most regressive tax of all. Sales taxes hit those at the bottom hardest because they spend every dollar they earn.
So far he has failed in that quest, so this fall he has turned his sights on the two largest metropolitan areas in the state. He wants to kill St. Louis and Kansas City by taking away their operating capital.
Missouri is unique in that it has two major metropolitan areas with populations exceeding a million souls, and both of them are on the border with other states and the residents live and work across state lines.
To make the tax burden fair, if you live in Kansas City, Missouri but work in one of the other municipalities – or across the state line – in the metro area, your employer collects a 1% earnings tax on your wages or salary. This funds services like fire and police protection, street maintenance, bus service, parks and golf courses, etc.
Same deal applies if you live in one of the other municipalities or across the state line but work in Kansas City.
That is how our cities have worked it out to provide services and share the burden equitably.
A lawyer who lives in Overland Park, Kansas and works for a firm in downtown Kansas City, Missouri pays that 1% earnings tax, as well he should, because he is benefiting from the services this city provides. Our police and fire departments protect his property. Our water services department supplies his office with clean potable water and sewer services. Our street maintenance crews assure that he has a safe commute that doesn’t shred the undercarriage of his Lexus. If he is in an accident or suddenly falls ill while he is on our side of the state line he will be tended to by an ambulance crew that is a part of our fire department and taken to a hospital that receives some of their funding from the public purse. If he eats in a restaurant over here, he has the security of knowing that the health department has inspected the kitchen and certified the food handlers. If he enjoys a cocktail after work, the bartender has been cleared by the regulated industries division to serve alcohol. If he has one too many and takes a taxi home, the cabbie is licensed, the meter is verified and the vehicle has been inspected for safety.
You can think of our city government like an iPhone – whatever comes up, we’ve got an app for that.
The only thing I can figure is that these two big, blue, liberal cities that anchor the east and west edges of the state and do things the opposite of how he would flies in the face of his libertarian orthodoxy and must be destroyed.
So he marshalled his army of out-of-state frauds to collect signatures on petitions and get the innocuous sounding “Let Voters Decide” measure on the ballot in November.
But it only sounds innocuous.
What it does is it gives the people in every wide spot in the blacktop a vote in how we fund our emergency services and operating budgets in Kansas City and St. Louis, even if they never have and never will set foot in the city limits of either city.
Cities are not the places to showcase rugged individualism. Cities require cooperation and comity and Prop. A runs counter to that reality. It is a craven attempt to capitalize on anti-tax, anti-government hysteria and destroy the economic underpinnings of the two largest cities in the state, apparently as punishment for being exemplars of what good government can deliver to the citizenry and flouting Sinquefield’s libertarian idiocy in the process.