Legal Challenge Looming if Arch Tax Passes
ST. LOUIS — (KMOX) Opponents of the proposed Arch Tax in St. Louis City and County are discussing a possible legal challenge, because they say the ballot language falsely implies St. Charles County could share in the burden.
If approved by voters in both the city and county, Proposition P would impose a sales tax of 3/16 of one cent — excluding food and prescription drugs. Supporters say it would raise $780 million over 20 years for improvement of the Arch grounds and other area parks.
Opponent Jennifer Bird with the group Vote No on Prop P says the ballot language is misleading.
“You have a situation that the ballot language mentions three entities — St. Louis City, County and St. Charles County. If you’re not sure you’re for or against it, you see there’s a shared burden. But it’s really just two entities, not three.”
At issue is a phrase on the ballot that says: “…shall the City of St. Louis join such other of the counties of St. Louis and St. Charles to impose a three-sixteenths of one cent sales tax…”
The St. Charles County Council strongly opposed the Arch Tax proposal and refused to put it on the ballot.
St. Louis County Director of Elections Rita Days was asked if the ballot language as it reads is misleading.
“Well, I can’t really say that it is misleading,” Days said, “All I can say is that that was the initial thought process in going along with three counties to do this.”
St. Louis City Republican Director of Elections Gary Stoff says they haven’t had any complaints about the language.
“Whenever a proposition goes on the ballot, we print it word-for-word the way it comes over from city hall,” Stoff said.
The Chairman of the Yes on Proposition P group, Peter Sortino, says the ballot language was determined by the Missouri legislature, which authorized the three counties to consider the tax.
“You have to follow the state statute,” Sortino said, “This language has been out there for months.”
The polls are open until seven. Bird and her group are expected to make an announcement later tonight about a legal challenge, if the Arch Tax passes.
Days says she’s not too worried about a lawsuit.
“Anyone can challenge anything in court,” Days said, “Now, whether they’re successful at that, that’s a different situation.”