Failure of Fragmentation: Nov 8 Tax Hikes On the Ballot

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big taxes

Another election is coming up and that means more tax increases on the ballot to prop up fragmentation in St. Louis County. The April and August ballots included several tax increases and bond issues. The next ballot looks much the same.

Fragmentation and low-productivity auto-oriented development patterns are synergizing in the St. Louis area, driving up the per capita cost of government services, transportation, infrastructure, and utilities. Despite $100Ms in opportunity costs and a soft tax base, under our current approach, municipal leaders are thinking inside the box to keep their budgets balanced.

There is one merger on the ballot! Vinita Park and Vinita Terrace voters will consider merging. Be sure to vote yes!

  • Bel-Ridge (Pop. 2,728)- Replace a fixed-fee business license taxes with a license tax of an amount up to $1.65 per $1,000, or portion thereof, of annual gross receipts or $50.00, whichever amount is greater?
  • Bel-Ridge – Authority to levy a utility tax up to 5%
  • Creve Coeur (pop. 17,855)- $10,690,000 bond issue for a new police station (KMOX STLToday)
  • Overland (pop. 16,006) – 0.5% sales tax for parks
  • St. Ann (pop. 12,978) – $7.5M bond issue for parks
  • Twin Oaks (pop. 393) – will consider becoming a city of the 4th class and if approved, consider authorizing the city to levy a property tax up to $1 per $100 assessed and a business license tax
  • Upplans Park (pop. 446) – 0.5% sales tax for parks and stormwater.
  • Velda City (pop. 1,413) – Authority for a utility tax up to 10%
  • Vinita Park (pop. 1,880) – 0.5% sales tax for parks and stormwater.
  • Community Fire District (serving Overland, St Ann, St John, Woodson Terrace, Breckenridge Hills, Edmundson, Charlack) – $0.50 per $100 assessed property tax
  • West Overland EMS and Fire Protection District – $0.15 per $100 assessed property tax

We’ve set up a scheme resembling Enron-style accounting where debt and liabilities are hidden in subsidiaries (municipalities). Those liabilities are piling up, and we pretend they will be confined to those municipalities forever. Do we let the system unravel on its own where munis hold on until the bitter end and dump those liabilities onto the county or do we come together before the bill gets even worse?

November 8, St. Louis County Sample Ballot

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