Summer 2019 Edition
A BRIEF REPRIEVE FROM THE THREAT OF THE BETTER TOGETHER MOVEMENT
On May 6 it was announced that the petition filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on behalf of the organization known as “Better Together” was withdrawn. This news came within a week after the announcement of the indictment, resignation, and guilty plea of the former St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger. Since then, it has also been announced that federal charges are also being brought against former St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Sheila Sweeney and pay to play participant John Rallo.
In spite of the discrediting of the plan to impose a mega-government over our county, municipalities within the county and the city of St. Louis, I believe that we need to remain vigilant and skeptical of future activity of this group that has thoroughly proven its poor judgment. Having said this, we are fully supportive of the Municipal League’s initiated effort to pursue the constitutionally provided “Board of Electors” process that may provide structural and procedural changes to government within St. Louis County and St. Louis City.
Related to this matter was an intimidation tactic put forth on behalf of an individual by the name of Gregg Keller, who has also been associated with “dark money” funding of campaigns, and who is Chairman of the Missouri Century Foundation, a 501 C(4) not for profit organization. A complaint was filed with the Secretary of State, suggesting that the City of Chesterfield was criminally in violation of State Statute 115.646, which restricts public funds from being used as direct contributions in support of candidates or ballot measures. Appropriately, The Office of the Secretary of State has dismissed the frivolous complaint. Mr. Keller, like so many associated with Better Together, either directly or indirectly receives funding from one of the Sinquefield entities.
STILL AWAITING SUPREME COURT DECISION ON SALES TAX LAWSUIT
Yes, there is still no decision that has been handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court as of the writing of this newsletter, however, depending on the outcome, I feel it important to prepare and inform our residents on the potential effects if the decision is wholly in our favor. We believe that if the statute (66.600) is found to be unconstitutional (and therefore invalidated), the 1% county-wide pool tax would go away. However, the 54 cities that previously had a municipal sales tax in place prior to 1977 would be allowed to continue receiving it. The language in the statute follows; “but shall again become effective without further action if the county sales tax is repealed or becomes otherwise inapplicable within such city, town or village.”
Unfortunately, all this being said, Chesterfield, Wildwood, Maryland Heights, and perhaps others that were not in existence in when the pool tax was first enacted in 1977 would be required to seek voter approval of a tax that would replace the no longer authorized pool tax. If the Supreme Court finds as we hope they will, and things unfold as anticipated, it will be critically important to replace the loss of approximately 17.5 % of our revenues. Our city has operated in a fiscally conservative manner, receives no property tax, and has paid down debt in an aggressive manner in recent years. Therefore I believe, Chesterfield is fully deserving of approval of a tax that would replace the potentially invalidated pool tax.
Feel free to contact your council members, our city administrator, or me if you have questions on this or any other matter!
Looking forward to our summer concert season and I hope to see you out and about and have a chance to visit with you.
Mayor Bob Nation