LETTER: Current state law makes Proposition A unncessary

Thursday, October 28, 2010 | 2:27 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — I urge all Missourians to vote no on Proposition A, which purports to prevent cities and counties from imposing an earnings tax and requires a vote of the people in St. Louis and Kansas City on those cities’ current earnings tax. This proposition is misguided and not needed.

The only cities currently authorized by state law to impose an earnings tax are St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph. (See Sections 92.110 and 92.210, RSMo.) St. Louis and Kansas City approved their earnings tax by a vote of the people when they approved their city charters. St. Joseph has no earnings tax.

No other city or county can impose an earnings tax. It would require a change to current state law before a city or county could even propose an earnings tax. Even if such a change were made, the city or county seeking to impose such a tax would have to submit it to a vote of the people before it could be approved, which is a requirement of the Hancock Amendment.

In my opinion, there is no need for this new amendment. Current state law does not authorize any city or county, other than St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph, to impose an earnings tax. All this amendment will do is completely gut the budgets of our biggest cities. If the people of these cities want to get rid of their earnings tax, let them do it. They can petition to put it on their own ballot, not a statewide ballot.

This is not an issue for us to be voting on statewide. It is an issue of local control. I live in Cole County, and I have no business telling another local entity what to do, just like I don't want them messing in Cole County or Jefferson City business.

Lawrence D. Leip lives in Jefferson City.

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