Monday, November 01, 2010

Comments for Missouri Voters on Prop A

This has been a frustrating number of months approaching the election, which is tomorrow, November 2nd. Perhaps for not any of the reasons that are obvious necessarily. But I feel like there has been a gross amount of misinformation spread around, and VERY little effort to correct the narrative. But before I get into that, Missourians, here is where you can look up your polling place (sorry rest of the country...you'll have to Google yours):

https://mcvr.mo.gov/elections/pollingplacelookup/

Well, right into the frustrations in the present narrative promoted by Republicans, Tea Partiers, and conservative talking heads...it seems to me that there is a very angry and paranoid view of things in the U.S. contributing to the 'collapse of American values' and other similar fictitious notions.

Proposition A will be on the ballot tomorrow for Missourians. It will basically require city populations to have to vote on measures to institute an earnings tax, similar to what Kansas City and St. Louis currently have. On the surface this would seem to be a no-brainer, just as many of the commercials are portraying it...of course you want people to have decision power over what taxation is added to them. But first you have to know what those earnings taxes presently pay for, and if the voter culture here is something that it makes sense to allow them to govern those decisions via a vote. In Missouri the general opinion is that ALL taxation is wrong and bad, and that any service that there is should be individually purchased and paid for, rather than provided for by taxation.

I really don't believe that many people actually understand how for that notion would go though. Do you really want to pay for all the utility lines and streets right in front of your home? What if the neighbors on either side of you don't maintain their utility lines or the street? Are you going to pitch in the extra? What about police and fire protection? Are you going to pay for those? What if your neighbor doesn't pay for fire protection and their home...15 feet from yours...goes up in flames? Are you going to pay extra when your insurance company charges you more if your neighbors don't pay for fire or police protection because you are a greater liability to their profits? What if people don't maintain the streets to your place of employment?

Most people don't even consider how interconnected most of the services we have in our society are. They just think of themselves and the fact they don't like all the places their taxes are going, or just simply think that taxation is not constitutional. Kansas City's City Manager has neatly broken down generally how the removal of the earnings tax will affect Kansas City here. A lot of it is fire and police protection. But there is some tourism and general services in the mix too. Imagine if you would want to head to Kansas City for the weekend if the museums or the zoo lost a good portion of their funding and couldn't remain open by ticket sales alone. What about if all the St. Louis renewal of the downtown area stopped, or if the they could no longer keep the St. Louis arch, or the zoos open because of lack of funding in the tourism budgets? Both cities stand to lose much more than merely the money from an earnings tax. They may also lose money from visitors and tourism in the process as well.

It makes more sense to vote 'no' on Proposition A, and let the people of Kansas City and St. Louis go to their city councils to make sure the city is responsible for the monies they take in with that tax, as well as the budget in general. If the people want a voice in their cities...voting 'yes' on Prop A is the passive aggressive version of action. Better to take a truly active approach...vote 'no' and get involved in your city and let the city council hear your voice in person. Nothing Proposition A has to offer will in reality be good for any community in Missouri, much less Kansas City or St. Louis, which are the only two cities that have the earnings tax in the first place.