I accept continued been accused of actuality a “tax and absorb liberal.” Fair enough, if that describes advocating for able acquirement for basic casework — like safe water, acceptable schools and busline options — during my 18 years in the Missouri Legislature.
The irony is that I rarely had the breach to vote on tax increases. The accompaniment constitution’s Hancock Amendment abundantly accouterment that accountability to the voters.
This year’s accepted acclamation offers two such opportunities in St. Louis County. Vote no on both.
Proposition Z: This one-eighth-of-a-cent sales tax for the St. Louis Zoo is actuality answer as accepting a basal aftereffect on people’s lives. But pennies add up. And they add up added for bodies active on the edge. St. Louis Canton should breach the addiction of allotment casework on poor people’s backs. Already too abounding astern sales taxes — about 10 percent in some municipalities — armamentarium necessities, like education, children’s services, blaze aegis and emergency communication.
The afflictive allotment of this angle is that the zoo already has a tax. As allotment of the Zoo-Museum District, it gets added than $20 actor annual from a acreage tax in St. Louis burghal and canton that funds it, the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri History Museum and St. Louis Science Center. Since the aboriginal ’60s, cultural institutions actuality accept been about funded. A accompaniment law enabled voters to anatomy the district, consistent in four of the bristles institutions not charging admission. (The garden answerable a fee historically.)
Although some commune leaders like to acclaim the institutions as “free to all,” they are not chargeless to all. Acreage owners in the burghal and canton pay — and afresh host anybody else.
In 2009, I alien a bill acceptance anniversary academy to accept if and how it would allegation acceptance to adopted visitors. The consistent firestorm was startling. The tourism establishment’s haranguing was outsized: The bill would abort tourism! They assassin a able lobbyist. He dead the bill. Simple enabling legislation.
Another acute acumen to vote no is to abash any of the four added institutions from activity rogue in gluttonous abstracted funding. The commune is a backbone of city-county cooperation and a ample agency in authoritative anniversary academy world-class. Its babyminding should be a aegis for astute use of revenue. Voters should not accord in to abstracted money grabs.
Why doesn’t the commune ask voters to accession its acreage tax and/or get enabling legislation to allegation nonresidents admission?
Proposition D: The additional angle admirable a no has been beatific to voters statewide by the Legislature. It would accession the gas tax a absolute of 10 cents over four years. And it contains a adulteration us that should abuse voters.
Just like the aftermost two proposals for gas tax hikes, this access would disproportionately advice rural areas by allotment alone interstates and “letter highways.” Under the accompaniment constitution, gas tax goes alone to anchorage and bridges. None can be spent for burghal or rural accessible transportation, commuter rail, ferries or bike paths. This angle makes abiding those modes abide to starve.
I had hoped that afterwards the complete beating voters gave the aftermost two gas tax hikes, the accurate bunch in Jefferson Burghal would apprehend it should abode the plight of all busline modes. But it absitively to conceal instead. It is announcement the tax for assurance — allotment the Highway Patrol — while alive the patrol’s accepted allotment to anchorage and bridges.
The bill’s adulteration us defies amenable administration of accompaniment revenue. It sets up the “Emergency Accompaniment Freight Bottleneck Fund” into which the Legislature would adapted accepted revenue. At last, the alley and arch guys could accurately booty from the pot of money already gutted by tax cuts to body their pet projects.
Who would lose from this conjuration of hand? Anyone who relies on accompaniment allotment for elementary and accessory schools, universities, brainy bloom care, Medicaid, hospitals, bent amends and prisons, ecology protections, and, not to forget, added modes of busline after their own appropriate tax like anchorage and bridges have.
Once again, astigmatic busline planners in Jefferson Burghal charge to be denied. Locking the accompaniment into added allotment that ignores the busline needs of millions of urban, rural and poor Missourians seals the state’s fate in concrete.
Vote no on Prop Z and Prop D.
Joan Bray of University Burghal represented mid-St. Louis Canton in the Missouri House, afresh Senate, from 1993 to 2010. She served on the busline committees in both bodies and chaired the House Busline Appropriations Committee.
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