St Louis City Should Vote Yes For Prop E

St. Louisans are being asked to reauthorize the earnings tax, Proposition E (Prop E), on the April 5 ballot.

March 24, 2016 | 2 min reading time

OP-ED

St. Louis City Should Vote "Yes" For Prop E on April 5

ST. LOUIS, Mo.—St. Louisans are being asked to reauthorize the earnings tax, Proposition E (Prop E), on the April 5 ballot. A "yes" vote will ensure the continuation of critical city services and protect the city's credit rating.

What is the Earnings Tax? The earnings tax is an assessment, or tax, levied on everyone who lives and/or works in the city of St. Louis. The 1% tax is imposed on salaries, wages, certain commissions, and other compensations and is one-third of the city's general operating budget.

StA Yes vote for Prop F is critical for StL

 

Baltimore, 3.2%;Cleveland, 2%;Philadelphia, 3.98%, and New York, 2.9%-3.65%.

The earnings tax is the largest source of general revenue, estimated at over $164 million, or about 33 percent of the city's $492.6 million general revenue budget. As a perspective, the budget for the police department alone is $156.2 million. The budget pays for public safety (fire/police), streets maintenance, lighting, corrections and other city services.

Who pays this tax? Interestingly, it is not only St. Louis city residents who pay the assessment. City residents pay 40%;St. LouisCounty and Illinois wage earners together pay 60%. Everyone who earns wages (and other compensations) within the city limits is assessed and is a beneficiary of vital city services, such as public safety, maintained roads, bridges and other amenities.

Who approves the tax? The Earnings Tax must be voted on and approved by ballot every five years by St. Louis citizens. City residents know that a "yes" vote is by far the most equitable way of funding and maintaining critical city services and is paramount to the city's growth and vitality. Voters last approved the earnings tax in April 2011, with an 88 percent approval rate.

What would happen if Prop E fails?

Failure to approve Prop E on April 5 would be devastating. Without one-third of the general operating budget, services will be cut, meaning fewer police and firefighters to fight crime and protect our resources;and roads and bridges will be severely impacted. To replace the earnings tax, property taxes could be increased by up to 56% and sales and corporate taxes could be increased as well. In addition, the city's current credit rating would be jeopardized, throwing the city's credit worthiness into a tailspin. St. Louis would become a less attractive community in which to live and to do business. St. Louis residents should vote "yes" on Prop E to ensure St. Louis has a bright future.###

The Comptroller of the city of St. Louis is charged with protecting the credit of the city and with being a watchdog over taxpayer dollars.

See St. Louis American Newspaper

See St. Louis Business Journal Your Turn

  • Department:
    Office of the Comptroller
  • Topic:
    Community

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