It’s Decision Day in MO: Prop E, Smoking Bans and Property Taxes
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Voters in St. Louis and Kansas City MO are weighing the benefits of huge tax savings against the potential detriment that losing the revenue could have on their cities.
Polls open Tuesday in Missouri’s two largest cities to allow local voters to decide whether to retain each city’s 1% earnings tax.
The tax creates about $140 million annually for St. Louis, or one-third of the city’s revenue.
Kansas City’s tax creates about $200 million, or about 40% of the city’s budget.
Opponents argue that the tax keeps businesses and residents from moving to the cities.
They say the cities should find other ways to fund services.
Under a proposal approved by Missouri voters in November, both cities must hold renewal votes on their earnings taxes every five years.
There are some predictions of a fairly light turnout at the polls today, but that may not be the case in St. Charles County where several key issues are on the ballot.
Voters in O’Fallon will decide whether they should join the growing list of cities to adopt a smoking ban.
Advocates hope that passage Tuesday will help bring a vote on a county-wide ban one big step closer to reality.
They say an across-the-board ban is easier to enforce and goes a longer way toward protecting all citizens from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
There’s no formal opposition, but some bar owners fear it will hurt their business, while others say it strips away civil rights — not only for smokers, but for those who might otherwise choose to allow smoking in their establishments.
Elsewhere in St. Charles, incumbant Patti York runs for a fourth term as mayor against state representative Sally Faith, and voters will decide the fate of proposed property tax increases for Wentzville schools and the O’Fallon fire protection district.
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