ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Large non-profits such as BJC, SLU and the Archdiocese would be forced to pay the city’s payroll tax under a plan taking shape in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
Sponsoring Alderman Steve Conway says the big non-profits have the money, and they can afford to pay the half-percent payroll tax like everyone else.
“On some of these institutions, some of their officers are getting paid — not at the Archdiocese — north of a million dollars a year. That would only come to $5,000.
Conway says collecting the tax could raise $12 million a year for public safety, and free up money for trash collection, streets and other services.
June Fowler is a spokesman for BJC, a large non-profit hospital.
“The question is not whether not-for-profit institutions have money,” Fowler said. “We have to have money in order to deliver on our mission. The question is are we required, should we be required to pay a tax?'”
Fowler says BJC wants a “holistic ” discussion on the city’s budget needs are, and how the proposed payroll tax would affect non-profits.
The General Counsel for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Thomas Buckley, is warning the payroll tax could hurt the institutions that are trying to do some good in the city.
“You know, SSM and SLU are about to build a $500 million-plus hospital on Grand Avenue, and all the non-profits contribute to the community,” Buckley said.
Asked if the Archdiocese doesn’t have the money to pay the tax, or just doesn’t want to pay the tax, Buckley responded:
“The money is not there, and some of our agencies, some of our ministries, would have to cut.”
For now, the plan remains in committee and formal hearings are expected.
If approved by the board and signed by St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, the proposal would go before city voters on the August ballot.