Amidst all of the loud discussion about raising the debt limit and taxes, the mainstream media has missed a story about cutting taxes, right here in Missouri. You won’t be surprised when you find out that the same mainstream media outlets published myriad articles regarding the “illegality” of the tax cut – yet neglected to report that this same tax cut was later found to be completely legal.
Mike Anthony, of the newspaper The Call, penned an article regarding a July 20, 2011, St. Louis Circuit Court decision stating that the Mehlville Fire Protection District (MFPD) decrease in tax rate was legal. This case brings with it an extensive history of shenanigans on the part of those who want more government spending and therefore challenged the right of the MFPD taxpayers to reduce their tax rate.
In 2007, the MFPD board of directors introduced a ballot measure aimed at reducing the district’s tax rate levy. The voters in the district, in turn, were given the opportunity to decide whether wanted to reduce their tax levy. Of course, this didn’t sit well with those who didn’t want the people to have a say. The opponents won the initial battle, and the ballot measure was removed.
Subsequently, however, the legislature passed a law that specifically allowed taxing entities to place such measures on the ballot. The district once again placed the measures, and they were once again challenged by the same people for the same reasons. This time, though, those who would deny the taxpayers the right to vote on their own tax levy lost.
On April 7, 2009, MFPD voters approved two ballot measures reducing their maximum rate by a total of 40 cents. In a punitive move against the district board, Susan Montee, the state auditor at the time, calculated that the district’s 2009 tax levy exceeded the amount the district was authorized to levy. In February 2010, the Attorney General brought a lawsuit against the district for “overcharging” taxpayers.
I will spare you the rest of the legal gobbledygook and get to the point: The district won! The district and Attorney General submitted a stipulation of facts that essentially said the district was correct.
What’s the bottom line in this story? The people who want to use the taxpayers as their ATM do not only live and work in Washington. They are all around us. They seem to be good people, and in fact, most of them are.
However, again and again I’ve seen that when otherwise good people get in office or are on the public dole, they lose sight of whose money they are spending. They are easily convinced that more government spending on “good” things is best for the people. NEWS FLASH – it’s not!
What is good for the people is for government to spend only what it needs to spend to provide the services necessary to provide an appropriate level of services – not gold-plated ones.
Kudos to the MFPD board of directors for holding strong and standing for their taxpayers in the face of big government spenders. They are also the first to put all their expenditures online via their transparency portal!
We need more local elected officials to do the same for their taxpayers!