ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A past president of the St. Louis Police Officers Association is coming out against Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax hike for public safety on the Tuesday ballot.
Retired Sgt. Gary Wiegert, a Republican committeeman in south St. Louis, says with the city’s sales tax is already near 10 cents on the dollar — that’s not the way to go.
“I think the city can find other ways to come up with that money,” Wiegert said. “This is rewarding bad behavior. This is rewarding fiscal irresponsibility. And we’re doing that by this tax increase.”
Wiegert says he also resents politicians “using” police to sell the tax, which would also raise $3.6 million a year for other things — summer and after-school programs, jobs programs and building demolition.
“I’m not against the police getting a raise,” Wiegert said. “I think the police and the firemen do deserve a raise. They deserve a huge raise. But it just seems like the city of St. Louis uses police to get their tax increases.”
Wiegert’s announcement against Prop P comes as the city’s African American newspaper, The St. Louis American, is also saying it’s against the tax.
In an editorial, The St. Louis American says Mayor Lyda Krewson has broken her campaign promise to do a city-wide audit, and hasn’t found any cost savings, grants, or “third-party funding” for police. If approved, the paper says Prop P would make the city’s sales tax the third-highest in the country.
The editorial also warns the half-cent sales tax would hurt the poor, and it calls the police department “bloated,” citing an audit that found mismanagement of police overtime funds.
St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones and other progressives recently held a news conference announcing their opposition to Prop P.