Vote Yes On Amendment 1: Renewal of Soil/Water Conservation & Parks Tax

voteboxAmendment 1 is the every ten years renewal vote on Missouri’s Parks, Soils, and Water Sales Tax.

“Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years?”

Full text of Constitutional Amendment

Proponent Website 

The Parks, Soils, and Water Tax was created by public vote in 1984 and renewed/amended by public vote in 1988, 1996, and 2006. It generates about $90 million every year for soil and water conservation projects and state parks. It passed by 70% statewide in the last vote.

The last renewal vote won 70% approval. This year’s renewal has a diverse coalition of supporters ranging from Missouri Farm Bureau to Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

7th Ward Independent Democrats had a ballot issues forum in which we were unable to secure anyone opposing the proposal. Here is the video of presentation by proponent speaker, Heather B. Navarro, from Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

A Yes Vote continues funding for important conservation programs and our beautiful state parks. A No Vote means a $90 million budget cut, gutting water and soil conservation efforts and our 88 state parks and historic sites. The choice is clear. Vote Yes on One.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

 

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Vote No On Prop S

 

voteboxWay down ballot, the last item, next Tuesday, November 8th Election Day, you will find Prop S to raise property taxes to fund senior citizen services.

Variations of this proposal are on the ballots in St. Louis County and St. Charles County (St. Charles has 10 year sunset, renewal vote in 10 years).

54 of Missouri’s 115 Counties previously adopted a similar tax increase.

propsNow the first thing that strikes me odd about this proposal is that it’s a tax for senior citizen services to be paid for by, in part, the least able to afford it, and most likely to need assistance, poor elderly homeowners.

The second thing that strikes me odd about this proposal is that it comes at a time when everyone from billionaire anti-earnings tax crusader Rex Sinquefield to the anti-services taxes Realtors are working on proposals to take various government revenue sources off the table. Mind you, in Missouri, any tax has to be put to the voters.

It seems to me like we are headed toward our only options being higher sales taxes and property taxes and maybe we should tread very carefully as to raising these taxes right now.

But Prop S money would go to a Senior Citizen Services Fund for health, nutrition, and quality of life programs for persons 60 years of age and older. Sounds great. Sounds like the sort of thing so popular that it is not wise to point out any flaws. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Except, well, Prop S is really flawed.

Here is the actual Board Bill sponsored by BOA President and 2017 mayoral hopeful Lewis Reed. 

It says that the Fund will be administered and managed by an unpaid Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor. That makes it a Mayor’s fund in my book. While the Board of Aldermen will have to approve the overall budget sent to it by the Fund’s Board, it’s a pass thru. It’s similar to the pass thru for taxes collected for public transit and spent by the Bi-State Development Agency, d.b.a. Metro. It’s another unelected body spending tax dollars and unaccountable directly to voters.

Our elected representatives won’t decide how the money is spent, the Mayor will. And, per the Ordinance, the Fund can also be used for operational and capital expenses relating to senior citizen services. Instead of Meals on Wheels, the money could go to fixing the plumbing at a senior center, which means the money appropriated for that can go to something else. This Fund can be used to plug budget holes and pay for the Mayor’s pet projects relating to seniors.

This tax appears to raise a small amount of money and very few senior citizens would end up benefiting from what it is spent on.

Vote No on Prop S.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman