Over the past few days I have spoken with many friends and acquaintances about Proposition A – Let Voters Decide. The various conversations were interesting and enlightening. Most of those I spoke with are in favor of and helping to spread the word about Proposition A. Everyone I spoke with understands that an earnings tax is a terrible economic approach.
Some folks I respect very much didn’t oppose Proposition A because of the false allegations being made by those who don’t want to let voters decide. The opposition tactics to letting voters decide remind me of the opposition to the concealed carry issue.
Remember? We were going to have wild west gun battles in our streets. People were going to be lying dead everywhere if we unleashed people to carry guns!
Now the opponents are making similarly wild, really desperate assertions about the Let Voters Decide – Proposition A issue. Just this weekend, I read the assertion that crime will be rampant in St. Louis and that it will roll all the way down I-44 to Springfield! It’s an obvious desperation attack designed to scare people. And just like the wild west shoot-outs, it’s not going to occur.
But some people have concerns about local control issues. While I respect their views, I believe their concerns are misplaced.
The local control of the issue remains unchanged from today should Proposition A pass on November 2, 2010. Only the cities of Kansas City and St. Louis currently have the earnings tax. Proposition A will not eliminate those earnings taxes. It will, however, let the voters of those cities decide on a regular basis if the money is being spent well by the cities. It requires an accounting of the tax monies from those cities. Something that doesn’t occur now.
St. Joseph is the only other city authorized to implement an earnings tax. They have tried 0n a couple of occasions and the voters have rejected it. Even if the voters approved it, there would likely be a court challenge as the St. Joseph statute has all the appearances of being special legislation, something the courts have struck down in the past.
No other city has the ability under current statute to implement an earnings tax. The problem is, it could be authorized very easily.
Some would say, “Well that’s local control as it should be.” I say it’s a lot like going to a casino. The odds are in favor of the house, in this case the government. Even before the tax is authorized, local governments have a plan for how they want to sell it or they would not have the legislature authorize it.
I’ve seen it happen countless times where a “local” tax is authorized with little to no discussion. Before the locals know it, they are voting on a new tax. The most often repeated refrain in these types of elections is “somebody else will pay it.” Even if that were true, remember there are no free lunches; there are still negative impacts to tax policy. An earnings tax is the prime example of how to drive jobs and business away!
Proposition A would require the legislature to actually change statute, a statute put into place by the people, not just add to it. It’s a belt-and-suspenders approach. Everyone gets to have their say, which is why it’s called LET VOTERS DECIDE.
Local control is maintained under Proposition A. Voters all across the state will be voting “YES” to say they don’t want an earnings tax coming to a city near them. Or they will vote “NO” and maintain the option to have an earnings tax come to their town in the future.
I’ve been told a number of times that an earnings tax would never be come to “our” town. Ronald Reagan said, “Never say never” and he is right. Many of these same people would have told us 24 months ago that we would never have Obamacare either. Yet, here it is.
Local control is being asserted by your vote on Proposition A. Even if people are confident that an earnings tax proposal would fail in their city, they will still have to wage a battle against it. The time, effort and dollars that will be required to be expended fighting it can be avoided by voting “YES” on Proposition A – Let Voters Decide!