2.11.08

Evaluation of St. Louis County Propositions / Ballot Initiatives

Proposition I
Proposes to authorize the incurring of indebtedness and the issuance of general obligation bonds of said County in the amount of One Hundred Twenty Million Dollars ($120,000,000.00) for the purpose of constructing various capital improvements to County buildings and facilities, and making improvements to County safety/security and communication facilities

Background – The county raised taxes—20-40%—on property in the last two years. And yet the reduction of resources through the decline in the stock market and broader economic conditions has left the county in need of resources. These new funds are not going toward paying new employees (like some of the taxes of Proposition H), and municipal bonds are a good way to raise cash.

Issues / Implications – The implications of this are a leveraging of future earnings of St. Louis County residents. Dependent upon how sever the recession ends up being, this could be a costly decision. Consider that the city of Birmingham, in attempting to implement social health and welfare programs, teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. Still, there appears to be a lot of health in St. Louis County. And short of raising taxes, bond initiatives are the primary means of raising funds to pay existing accounts. The purpose and intended use of these funds, all things considered, makes a lot of sense.

CONCLUSION: I plan to vote YES for this bill.


Proposition H
IMPOSING A LOCAL USE TAX ON TRANSACTIONS SUBJECT TO MISSOURI USE TAX LAW, SUBJECT TO VOTER APPROVAL; CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN THE COUNTY OF
ST. LOUIS ON THE FOURTH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2008, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSAL TO IMPOSE A COUNTY-WIDE LOCAL USE TAX OF ONE AND EIGHTY-FIVE HUNDREDTHS PERCENT (1.85%) FOR THE PURPOSES OF ENHANCING COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL PUBLIC SAFETY, PARKS, AND JOB CREATION AND ENHANCING LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES. (read more here).

Background – this is a hard one to judge. St. Louis County has three initiatives to raise taxes on residents in this voting cycle. We have already seen a county wide increase of property taxes by 20-40% (last Fall). The $2000 out-of-state tax is going to hit small businesses hardest. Many small businesses have already stopped spending in the area of R&D, technology, and are seeing cutbacks in payroll. This tax is going to hit them hard and potentially force a reduction of payroll (i.e. layoffs). On the parks aspect, St Louis county has hundreds of little parks—due to a stipulation that allows private individuals to donate their property to the state for “parks use.” These cost a ton on upkeep.

Issues / Implications – It’s hard to swallow. Individuals and businesses getting taxed for out of state purchases. This amounts to double taxation. And with two other county wide tax increases on the books, this is too much.

CONCLUSION: I plan to vote NO for this bill.


Proposition M
CALLING AND PROVIDING FOR THE HOLDING OF AN ELECTION IN THE COUNTY OF ST. LOUIS ON THE FOURTH DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2008, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF SAID COUNTY A PROPOSAL TO IMPOSE A COUNTY-WIDE SALES TAX OF ONE HALF OF ONE PERCENT (0.50%) FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING A SOURCE OF FUNDS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES, I ADDITION TO THE EXISTING COUNTY-WIDE SALES TAX OF ONE QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT FOR THE SAME PURPOSE; IMPOSING SAID

Background – While public transportation may not be desired for many of the affluent West County citizens, the fact remains that the expenses related to transportation for the less affluent, poorer segments of the population is enough to make car ownership / insurance-ship / maintenance accessible. Removing / reducing the obstacle of transportation for poorer segments of society—in a highly mobile society—increases their ability to find stable work, and support themselves. The City has expanded the tram and bus routes as best they can with current funds. Public transportation will never be for everybody, and yet—because of the mobility of our society—public transportation will forever be a necessity for those who make use of it.

Issues / Implications – Other than what is mentioned previously, there is an unconscious fear that the expansion of public transit somehow allows for the bussing in-and-out of crime to more “stable areas.” This notion, not only unfounded, assumes a “safety” in suburban areas that is facadistic and artificial.

CONCLUSION: I plan to vote YES for this bill.

No comments: