Column: Prop A is right for Missouri

With numerous high-profile issues and competitive offices up for a vote Nov. 2, I find it curious Proposition A has not received much media attention.

Proposition A, a statewide ballot measure, would increase the accountability of the Kansas City and St. Louis city governments. If passed, the initiative would require the cities to hold a citywide vote every five years to approve each of their respective earnings taxes.

If the earnings tax then fails to pass, it must be phased out of the city budget within 10 years. Proposition A would also restrict the authority of other cities to levy earnings taxes.

As a Kansas City native, Proposition A hits, literally and figuratively, very close to home for me. This initiative has been a long time coming. To date, Kansas City and St. Louis can levy earnings taxes without any consent from city residents.

Taxation without representation, anyone?

It seems to me the primary opponents of Proposition A are city officials, who make a living off said earnings taxes.

Of course city officials would oppose allowing voters to decide whether to continue or eliminate an earnings tax! After all, it is in their own financial interest to allow the city to continue levying earnings taxes without any voter approval. Conflict of interest, anyone?

If Proposition A were to pass and Kansas City and St. Louis voters rejected the extension of the earnings tax, it would hold innumerable economic benefits for both the cities and the state of Missouri.

In 2008, a study by the Show-Me Institute, a nonpartisan policy think tank based in St. Louis, found eliminating the earnings tax would create roughly 4,700 new jobs in the Kansas City area alone.

Businesses from around the state, and possibly even from outside Missouri, would move into the city and provide job growth. St. Louis could see up to $1.5 billion in income gains, and Kansas City could see up to $3.2 billion if the earnings tax were eliminated.

Of course, the hardcore fiscal conservative in me would love to see cities across Missouri repealing their earnings taxes, but that is beyond the point. The bottom line is Proposition A does not remove the ability of Kansas City and St. Louis to levy an earnings tax.

Proposition A merely gives the power back to the citizens of each city, allowing them to hold their local governments accountable.

Our nation was founded on the principle of consent by the governed, and to continue allowing a city to levy taxes on its citizens without any check on its power is in violation of this basic principle.

Today, while the federal government continues to spend money like it’s going out of style and massive tax increases loom in the coming year, I would like to know that as a Missourian, I still have some control over how much money my local government might or might not take from me.

On Nov. 2, I hope that Missourians agree with me and vote to approve Proposition A.

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