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Prop A Wins, KC and St. Louis to Vote on Whether to Keep Earning Taxes

By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio / Frank Morris, KCUR

St. Louis, Missouri – State voters approved Proposition A on Tuesday. That gives St. Louis and Kansas City residents a chance to decide whether to keep one-percent earnings taxes.

In Kansas City, council and mayoral elections are in March, and a vote on maintaining the earnings tax will follow about two weeks after. That means the newly elected mayor and council will be campaigning for the tax right away.

While it's not clear who will be taking the message to the voters, Councilman Ed Ford says it is pretty clear what they'll be saying.

"I think the message is simple," says Ford. "If you want city services at any sort of comparative level to what we've had, and you don't want to pay more real estate tax, you don't want to pay more sales tax, then you need to support the e-tax."

Ford says the people who would benefit from repealing the earnings tax are those who work in Kansas City, but live elsewhere...people not eligible to vote on the tax.

The tax must be renewed every five years, so Kansas Citians will be asked to vote for their self interest, against that of their suburban co-workers twice a decade.

Meanwhile, Marc Ellinger, a spokesman for Let Voters Decide - which supported Prop A - says opponents' scare tactics did not work.

"I think it's a pretty clear and resounding message that voters all across the state of Missouri, from metropolitan areas to rural areas, do not want to have a third income tax," says Ellinger. "Folks in St. Louis and Kansas City will get an opportunity this spring to vote whether they want to keep the tax or not. We're very excited about that."

Ellinger says the Let Voters Decide organization has no plans to take an active role in the local elections in St. Louis and Kansas City next spring.

While winning 68 percent of the vote, Prop A was rejected in St. Louis and Kansas City.

"No on Proposition A" campaign coordinator Mark Jones says that's an important detail.

"What Rex Sinquefield and his supporters have to be wondering is what did they spend $11.2 million to do? The two major cities in the state have rejected their economic theory, have told them to butt out of their local business," says Jones.

Sinquefield, a St. Louis businessman and philanthropist, spent millions of dollars putting Proposition A on the statewide ballot and advertising in support of the measure.


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