St. Louis County’s New Tax Commission Is Welcome Gift to Bloggers
It looks like I am not going to have any trouble finding things to blog about as long as this new commission is in operation. St. Louis County has put together an ad-hoc committee to look at potential new revenue enhancements — or "taxes," in regular speak. The Post-Dispatch has the story here. This is not automatically a bad thing. "But Dave, you stupid commie pinko, new taxes are always a bad thing!" you might say to me, and indeed new taxes are usually a bad thing. But there are several reasons why I have faith in this commission and am not reflexively opposed to its very existence. Those reasons are:
- First and foremost, Skip Mange is in charge of it. Skip is truly one of my favorite people. He was a great county councilman and a dedicated public servant. His engineering background will come out here. He is going to have to see a genuine need, hard facts, and a legitimate purpose before he supports any new taxes. (That is just my belief; he didn’t tell me that.) Skip certainly struck a note of temperance with his quote in the article:
Skip Mange, a Republican and former County Council member, is chairman of the commission. He said that supporters of the tax proposals "need to know which are not viable. They should not anticipate that all of them are politically available."
- The fact is that St. Louis County does have a great deal of room under its bonding authority at present. My initial opinion here is that if something has to be done (and the Family Court Building really does suck), then issuing bonds and extending — but not increasing — the property tax to pay off the bonds is the best way to do it.
- Finally, and very importantly, thanks to the Hancock Amendment no tax increase of any size will go forward without a vote of the people of St. Louis County. As the article states, several of these proposals have already been voted down. I am confident that the voters will make a good decision again regarding whatever this commission decides to support, if anything.