Make your voice heard. Attend one of the hearings. Contact Committee Members, Your Alderman, and Board President Lewis Reed. Contact information at end of post.
St. Louis Board of Aldermen
Ways & Means Committee
Public Hearings on
Board Bill 227 by 6th Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
To place a Sales Tax for “Economic Development” on the April 4th Ballot
8:30 am Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Leisure Room, City Hall. 1200 Market
6:30-8:30 pm Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Nebula co-working space, 3407 S Jefferson
There are three pages of Whereas in Board Bill 227, The Narrative intended to sway you, before the the meat and potatoes.
The Sales Tax would be dedicated to Economic Development including:
1) North/South Metrolink
2) Neighborhood Development
3) Workforce Development
4) Anti-Crime Infrastructure, including security cameras as well as a monitoring system
5) Upgrade the City’s Infrastructure
In other words, you are being asked to support yet another somewhat generic sales tax increase that the Board of Aldermen and Board of Estimate & Apportionment (Mayor + Comptroller + Board President) will decide later what it is actually spent on.
Now, sure, you may hear or read that this will get _% and that will get _% of the new revenue. But, in reality, every time we pass one of these taxes for X, Y, Z, the actual appropriation is subject to politics.
Regardless of what you hear or read about the promises of this money, you would not be voting on specific percentages for spending categories. It could be that it will all mostly go to one category. Look at that above link to the actual proposal. Do you see any percentages?
Accountability is highly problematic. If this is put on the April ballot, some aldermen, who made whatever nonbinding promises they did on where the money would be spent, may not even be in office after April because of March Primary Election challengers. And there will be a new Mayor come April who may or may not share the same understanding on how this money should be spent. And, in a few short years, half of the Board of Aldermen will be gone because of ward reduction to 14 wards after 2020 redistricting. Just some things to consider.
I think these categories should each stand on their own for votes and they should have sunset clauses for reauthorization, maybe a re-vote in ten years.
As for North/South Metrolink expansion, I want an opportunity to vote on revenue for that project, but not junked up with other “economic development” issues, and I’d like to see a percentage of the revenue dedicated to better bus service.
But, we need to get a handle on taxes. Additional taxes maybe should wait until the next mayor. Our sales tax is already very high. We need to find different revenue streams.
Members of the BOA Ways & Means Committee include: Alderman Steve Conway (8th Ward), Alderman Chris Carter (27th Ward), Alderman Antonio French (27th Ward), Alderman Terry Kennedy (18th Ward), Alderman Sam Moore (4th Ward), Alderwoman Beth Murphy (13th Ward), Alderman Scott Ogilvie (24th Ward), Alderman Joe Vaccaro (23rd Ward).
Board President Lewis Reed is a voting member of all committees.
— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman