Failure of Fragmentation: Sales Tax Hike for SLMPD

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.

About Richard Bose

A nextSTL contributor since 2011, Richard is an Electrical Engineer by profession. He earned a BA in Physics and Economics and an MSEE from Washington University in St. Louis. Richard is a transplant from Central Illinois and has called St. Louis home since 1998. He is Vice President of St. Louis Strong. He can be found on Twitter @Stlunite and contacted at [email protected]

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