On Friday the St. Louis Board of Alderman gave first passage 20-4 to a bill to place a 0.5% sales tax increase on the November ballot. It would raise about $23M in revenue and is meant to stem compensation competition from St. Louis County and its 50+ police departments since the passage of the same tax in April. If passed, the sales tax at a restaurant in the Delmar Loop would be 13.3%.
Once again we see how fragmentation and spread-out auto-oriented development patterns are leading to insolvency, adding pressure to raise taxes at every opportunity. What happens when we run out of taxes to raise? What happens when the additional pension burden comes home to roost? What happens when the sales tax house of cards collapses in the next recession?
Our broken system keeps looking inside the box and taking out the same old prescriptions. Maybe this time it will work. I’m doubtful. We should say no to tax increases and demand consolidation to free some of the $100Ms thrown away each year on fragmentation.