Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Would you be willing to pay a higher sales tax to help the St. Louis Arch? That’s the question that may be put to voters in three local communities.

The proposed 3/16th of a cent sales tax hike would have to pass in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County to become law. Consumers would pay another two-cents on every ten dollars spent, with food and prescription drugs exempted.

Downtown Alderwoman Phyllis Young introduced the plan today at the Board of Aldermen.

Phyllis Young

Alderwoman Phyllis Young

“I think it’s an identity issue for the city and for this region,” Young said, “because the Arch is the symbol of St. Louis. It’s the gateway to the West.”

If put on the ballot and passed by voters, it would raise about $38 million a year for the next 20 years. Local parks in the three communities would get 40 percent of the funds. The $11.4 million raised annually for the Arch would be used to issue $100 million in bonds to help finance a major renovation of the Arch and its grounds. Passage of the tax hike would also encourage charitable foundations to contribute to the effort, Young said.

Opposition so far, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann is questioning why local taxpayers should pay for the upkeep and improvement of a federal monument. Ehlmann has indicated that he won’t veto the plan, if approved by his council.

The St. Louis County Council is expected to take up the issue soon.

Copyright KMOX


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