Tuesday, February 19, 2008

City sales tax increase: pro or con?

City voters recently approved a sales tax increase to help fund costs of providing public safety services and pensions for city police and firefighters. The issue didn't get a lot of attention, and passed easily.

Since the vote, I've been thinking about the increased sales tax we pay in STL City. Are we pricing ourselves too high? Is there a limit to how much we can raise sales taxes before they start to hurt our economy? There must be, and I'm not smart enough to know how much that is.

So I'm thinking about the sales tax rate-ranging from 8.24-9.74%-and wondering, hmmm, maybe it's a cost worth paying in order to have the convenience of living close in to work and all the amenities we have in our neighborhoods and the city? City voters must agree.

On the other hand, say you live in an outlying area. There, sales taxes might be lower, but other costs enter the picture, especially related to transportation. In terms of a household's bottom line, higher transportation costs take a big bite out of the budget, so maybe things are about even?


Anonymous said...

It was increase the sales tax or increase the property tax. A greater percentage of the sales tax is shared with out of towners than of the property tax.

Good choice, city voters.

Anonymous said...

True, sales tax is higher. Also true, residents don't pay directly for trash and yard waste pick-up; after a storm, the city will haul off our downed trees if we move it to street; we get all the free mulch, compost, fire wood we want; and many of us live within a short distance of a recycling station where we can do the right thing without paying a fee.

I don't think many, if any, of our neighbors in surrounding counties either side of the river with lower sales taxes can say they get as many services paid for by GR. I don't think any of us wants to start getting directly billed for any of that to free up GR for additional public safety related costs.

Oh, yeah, and our water is the best in the country, very cheap, and not rationed. We ought to message this asset to water war markets.

Move to St. Louis. Enjoy a plentiful supply of the best water in the country at bargain prices.

your pal, Howard