ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Nonprofits are lined up to testify against a proposed half-cent payroll tax that would raise money for St. Louis police.

Nonprofits currently are exempt from the tax, but that may not be for long.

St. Louis University Vice President and General Counsel Bill Kauffman says the new tax would cost Saint Louis University about $2 million a year at a time when money is already tight.

“This past year, the university has a deficit exceeding $16 million,” Kauffman says. “As a consequence, we have gone through a very excruciating process on our campus, that has resulted in the reduction of about 270 positions, which included 150 people to whom we said goodbye on March 7.”

Also testifying against the proposal, representatives of Washington University, BJC, the St. Louis Archdiocese and a long list of charities.

The St. Louis Archdiocese is warning aldermen not to pass the plan.

Attorney Tom Buckley says the move would cost Catholic organizations in St. Louis “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” which they don’t have to spare.

“It’s clear. I mean, the only thing you can do is either cut services – that means more homeless people on the streets, more crime in the city of St. Louis,” Buckley says, “or cut salaries or cut positions, and that’s a losing proposition for the city of St. Louis, too. Those employees are paying 1 percent payroll tax right now.”

Supporters say it could raise $12 million a year to help give St. Louis police officers raises and fill more than 100 vacancies.

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