On Tuesday, April 5, polls will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for municipal elections. Coming just after a presidential preference primary, and with primary and general elections still ahead this year, we expect many voters to be frustrated and fatigued at the prospect of getting out to vote again. However, especially in the City of St. Louis, it is very important that they do so. And here is how we urge you to vote.
YES ON PROPOSITION E. Proposition E asks voters to extend the 1 percent earnings tax for another five years. Though the campaign to defeat this measure, funded by Rex Sinquefield, makes some good points, including the competitive disadvantage this tax gives the City of St. Louis in attracting businesses, the reality is that now is not the time to start the clock ticking on tax phase-outs that would eventually cut the city’s current revenue stream by one-third, risking financial ruin for the city or more regressive sales taxes for citizens. For the foreseeable future, we need an earnings tax collected from those who work in the city.
YES ON Proposition F. Proposition F is a $25 million general obligation bond that would fund badly needed equipment and repairs for the St. Louis Fire Department, with additional funds earmarked for other reasonable infrastructure needs. Citizens won’t see higher real estate taxes, capital improvements can be made, and firefighters can receive essential equipment. We should issue these bonds.
YES ON PROPOSITION 1. As we argued at length last week, it is critical that Saint Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams and his district get a major boost of confidence and support – with needed funding – from the community in the form of this modest tax levy – the first in 25 years. For a small citywide increase in property taxes, the district can maintain its early education programs, attract and retain better teachers, offer more alternative education options and improve security. This is a sound investment in the future of the city and its most precious resource, our children.
NO ON PROPOSITION Y. One way or another, the Metropolitan Sewer District will get money from users to implement its consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. This $900 million bond issue for wastewater improvement projects is a reasonable way to raise those funds. However, we agree with minority inclusion advocates that MSD has not been sufficiently faithful to the Community Benefits Agreement and should make good on that agreement before voters approve the funds for more work. Come back to us on this one, MSD.
YES ON PROPOSITION S. Proposition S would revamp the stormwater tax structure to make fees more uniform. Some users would pay more than now, and some less, but it makes sense to make the payment structure more standard.
In St. Louis County, the sample ballot runs for 71 pages, owing to the counter-productive fragmentation of the county into an absurd number of often tiny municipalities. Among many other things, this makes it all but impossible for local media with their limited staff to responsibly cover all of these elections or make credible endorsements in them.
However, we do feel strongly about one candidate for trustee for Subdistrict 1 on the St. Louis Community College board. This subdistrict encompasses the school districts of Clayton, Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Jennings, Ladue, Normandy, Pattonville, Ritenour, Riverview Gardens and University City. Derek Novel is the incumbent, having been appointed by the rest of the board to fill a seat emptied by a resignation (the person who resigned is running again against Novel, but that is another story). Novel is a veteran educator who has served ably on the board thus far with the solid goals of fiscal responsibility, expanded outreach, increased programming options, and recruiting and retaining quality faculty and staff. We strongly endorse DEREK NOVEL FOR ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEE, SUBDISTRICT 1.