Defending traditional families

MFN E-alert: Proposition A, 2010 General Election

Proposition A
Vote “YES” to limit your local government from imposing income taxes!

Proposed by a citizens’ Initiative Petition.  Go to http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010petitions/2010-077.asp to read the full text of this proposed Missouri state statutory provision.

Official Ballot Title:  (The summary question you will see in the voting booth)

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets;

require voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax to approve continuation of such tax at the next general

municipal election and at an election held every 5 years thereafter;

require any current earnings tax that is not approved by the voters to be phased out over a period of 10 years; and

prohibit any city from adding a new earnings tax to fund their budget?

Fair Ballot Language:  (Additional clarification required by law, provided by Secretary of State’s office.)

A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets.  The amendment further requires voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax, St. Louis and Kansas City, to approve continuation of such tax at the next general municipal election and at an election held every five years or to phase out the tax over a period of ten years.

A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding earnings taxes.

If passed, this measure will impact taxes by removing the ability of cities to fund their budgets through earnings taxes.  The only exception is that voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax may vote to continue such taxes.

Analysis: A trend in local government tax schemes is to find new sources of taxation.  St. Louis City and Kansas City aggressively tax local payrolls through their municipal income tax.  (The public school lobby has been seeking authority to do the same at the local school district level.)  While this increases revenues for the local governing authorities, it also creates its own negative outcomes.  Meanwhile other local governments covet a local income tax too.

Local income taxes stifle job creation in much the same way as small business over taxation.  To avoid the tax businesses and employers establish their presence down the road outside the local taxing jurisdiction, or in a far away community.  Many established businesses close shop and relocate when these kind of new taxes become too oppressive.  Without effective job creation incentives most communities cannot grow or even hold their own.  When tax policies become too intrusive a community can begin to deteriorate further stressing the revenue base.

Just as businesses must compete to produce goods and services they must also strive to offer competitive jobs in order to maintain the ability to generate those products.  While employees feel the pinch of smaller paychecks due to local income taxes, employers struggling to maintain available jobs are also stressed by such taxes.  In the end, local income taxes are a regressive and harsh tool for raising revenue for any level of government.

An additional concern regarding income taxes is the rate.  As state and federal government income tax rates continue to climb, what can wage earners expect at the local level?  Prudence and experience grant no optimism regarding this concern.

God’s Word speaks against governments that oppress their citizens.  Our forefathers not only fought against such outward tyranny but they memorialized civil disobedience (appropriately applied) as a future defense against internal tyranny also.  Remember that the War of Independence was the result of a great theological struggle as the Tories argued for a Biblical submission to the King (Romans 13:1-7) and the Patriots argued from the motivation of demonstrating love for one’s neighbors whom the King was oppressing (Luke 10:25-29 & Acts 5:29).

Under Proposition A any existing income taxes imposed by a local government must be re-approved at the next municipal election.  If it is so re-approved it must continue to be reauthorized every five years.  If it fails to be supported by the voters within the local taxing jurisdiction, the tax would be phased out over a ten year period to avoid any harsh revenue crisis.  Those local governing authorities not currently enacting an income tax would be prohibited from ever imposing this particular type of taxation.  State and federal income taxes will not be impacted by Proposition A.

In order to promote equity in tax policy, help foster a healthy job market and economy, and to further protect your neighbor from burdensome and regressive taxation – please vote “YES” to limit local government income taxes!