Arch Sales Tax Is An Opportunity For A Regional Bad Idea
Too often, the cities and other taxing districts in the greater Saint Louis area act unilaterally in ways that hurt our region. Well, the new sales tax proposal to improve the grounds of the Gateway Arch is a great opportunity for us to do something different. We can do something that hurts our region together, as a region. I guess this is some type of progress.
This new tax is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, many of them that Saint Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has explained well here:
He says his constituents shouldn’t pay higher local taxes to help revamp the federally owned monument and the park surrounding it.
I think he is right, and I say this as someone who thinks the residents of Saint Charles County should pay more in other instances. For example, I think the people of Saint Charles and other counties outside of Saint Louis City and County should be given a choice on either imposing the zoo-museum property tax within their areas or have to pay admission fees to visit those attractions.
But this proposal is crazy. It is possible for this tax increase to pass in Saint Louis County and Saint Charles County, but not in Saint Louis City, which would result in tax money being collected only outside of Saint Louis City but spent entirely within the city. The arch may be a wonderful regional asset, but it should be paid for the way other federal properties are – with federal tax dollars, user fees, and in a case like this, charitable donations. If there are not enough federal tax dollars available to pay for it, then user fees and donations can be increased, perhaps creatively — or perhaps the project should just not be done.