Opposition to Repeal of St. Louis Earnings Tax Predicts Win on Proposition A

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Prop. A loses -- barely.
A group fighting financier Rex Sinquefield's ballot measure to eliminate earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City believe they have a good shot at defeating Proposition A in November.

Today the group United for Missouri's Priorities released figures from a poll suggesting that Prop. A would lose 43 percent to 37 percent if the election were held today among voters most likely to head to the polls Nov. 2. The vote gets much closer, however, if less likely voters get out to vote. In that scenario, United for Missouri's Priorities predicts a 38 percent to 37 percent victory -- with 25 percent of voters leaving the ballot issue blank.

"Missouri voters recognize Proposition A for what it is - a misguided experiment the conclusion of which is less firefighters and police on the streets and higher taxes," said Mark Jones, campaign coordinator for United for Missouri's Priorities, in a statement today.

If approved by state voters, Proposition A would require St. Louis and Kansas City (the only two cities in the state with an earnings tax) to hold a vote every five years asking residents whether or not to repeal the tax. If voters approve the measure, the cities would have ten years to eliminate the tax. Currently, the 1 percent earnings tax, raises around $141 million annually in St. Louis and accounts for one-third of the city's general fund to pay for city services such as police and fire protection.

While Kansas City officials are actively fighting the ballot measure, Mayor Francis Slay's office is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward -- saying it will fight the issue if/when it passes a state vote and St. Louis voters are asked to eliminate the tax. (It's worth noting that Rex Sinquefield has donated large sums to Slay's re-election campaign, including $75k last year.)

Meanwhile, campaign finance reports show that Kansas City outfits are also leading the charge in donating money to defeat Prop. A. In the past two months, the Kansas City firefighter's union has given $20,000 to the cause and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City has donated $15,000 to add to the $50,000 it gave in the second quarter. In August, Washington University donate $5,000 to United for Missouri Priorities. The SEIU Missouri/Kansas State Council (headquartered in St. Louis) also gave $10,000 in August.

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