Proposition A would forbid any municipality from ever enacting a local earnings tax, with the exception of St. Louis and Kansas City, which already have such a tax. But it would impose a restriction on the earnings taxes already in place, requiring that those two cities put the continuance of such a tax on the ballot every five years.
You have Rex Sinquefield to thank for this idea. Think of it as a practice run. If this one gets by the voters, then he’ll work to get his cancel-all-state-income-taxes/institute-a-mega-sales-tax idea on the 2012 ballot.
I’m grateful that at least this initiative isn’t a constitutional amendment. Beyond that, I have nothing good to say about it.
St. Louis gets a third of its income from the earnings tax and Kansas City gets 40 percent of its income that way. To replace those funds each city would have to either triple its sales tax or quadruple its property tax. Furthermore, such a crippling economic situation would destroy bond ratings in each city, thus imperiling any chance to borrow.
Considering this dire scenario, it’s maddening to think that the decision about the financial future of the economic engines of this state lies not in each city’s own hands, but with voters who have no immediate stake in the future of those municipalities. The rest of the state should butt out. Talk about Big Brother. Republicans are always frothing about ‘local control’–except when they’d rather not. Unfortunately, they’ve decided to abandon their local control mantra over as bad a notion as anyone could have dreamed up.
And by the way, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay isn’t even fighting Prop A because he’s taken more than $245,000 from Sinquefield.
But. Do not despair. This is winnable for our side. For once, the rural areas are not pitting themselves against the urban areas. They’re not particularly fond of voting to deny themselves the right ever to vote on an issue. Kirksville, Springfield, and Columbia newspapers oppose Proposition A, as does the Municipal League, which represents Missouri cities, towns, and villages.
Now if you’d like to help the effort to hand Rex a failure, you could help with phone banking or canvassing. We need to bring his momentum to a screeching halt.
Here’s the contact info: Sign up to volunteer on the Say No to A website; or if you’re in St. Louis, call Aaron at Jobs with Justice: 314-644-0466.