Shall the County of St. Louis impose a countywide sales tax of one-half of one percent for the purpose of providing a source of funds for public transportation purposes including the restoration, operation and expansion of MetroLink, MetroBus, disabled and senior transportation, in addition to an existing sales tax of one-quarter of one percent for the same purpose?
The proposition requires a simple majority for passage. The sales tax is expected to raise $75 million a year. In addition, a previously passed sales tax in the City of St. Louis will go into effect and produce $8 million.
The League has long history of supporting mass transit, particularly of adequate funding to meet the transit needs of the area.
The environmental benefits of mass transit have always been a major reason for supporting a good transit system but they are increasingly important as we continue to strive to achieve healthier air and face the challenges of global climate change. According to the American Public Transportation Association "If an individual switches a 20-mile roundtrip commute to public transportation, his or her annual CO2 emissions will decrease by 4,800 pounds per year, equal to a 10 percent reduction in a two-car household's carbon footprint".
Transit is also a social policy issue. The League supports mass transit as an important part of making employment, education, health care and recreation opportunities available to everyone, including the transit dependent. After a sales tax proposal similar to Proposition A failed in November 2008, the result was a one-third cut in transit services in Missouri. Metro was able to restore some of the services with emergency help from the State of Missouri and the Federal government. However, these emergency funds will run out in May. The impact of reduced service is particularly severe for those who rely on public transportation for access to health care and employment in difficult economic conditions. If Proposition A passes, the first priority for Metro will be restoration of the services that were cut in 2009. In addition, the funds will allow Metro to make improvements to all areas of transit service.
Metro has been working to develop short range (5 year), mid range (10 year) and long range (30 year) plans. These plans are being developed including public input that has taken place over the last several months in public meetings throughout the area and on line. Information about this process is available at movingtransitforward.org.
Positions result from a process of study. Any given study, whether it be National, State, or Local, is thorough in its pursuit of facts and details. As the study progresses, a continuing discussion of pros and cons of each situation occurs. Prior to the results of the study being presented to the general membership, study committee members fashion consensus questions that are then addressed by the membership.
Additional discussion, pro and con, takes place as members (not part of the study committee) learn the scope of the study. After the members reach consensus, the board forms positions based on that consensus.
It is the consensus statement -- the statement resulting from the consensus questions -- that becomes a position. Firm action or advocacy can then be taken on the particular issue addressed by the position. Without a position, action/advocacy cannot be taken.
2005-2007 St. Louis programs:
Education - Where We Stand
Support a sound program for financing schools, and school programs, including civics curriculum, for students to develop their full potential.
Support of a communication process involving all segments of the community within each school district.
Support equal opportunity in education with continued efforts to achieve racial and socio-economic balance and equality within city/county schools.
Action to implement locally the state position of support for equal opportunity in education, access to quality programs, and adequate financing.
Environmental Quality - Where We Stand.
Air Quality Support of improved air quality and an interstate regional approach to solve air pollution problems.
Support of emission standards for air pollutants as a means of improving the air quality of the metropolitan area by providing standards which can be legally enforced on the individual polluter.
Support of national industrial emission standards, with any region retaining the right to establish more stringent standards.
Support a mandatory emergency plan for protection of the health and welfare of the community when a high air pollution potential exists in the area and pollution reaches a dangerous level.
Support for the authorization of a single regional agency to set and enforce standards to control air pollution in the St. Louis air quality region.
Land Use Support for the adoption and management by county and municipal governments of land use plans which incorporate a sound policy development based upon the goals, needs and resources of those communities and provide for citizen input.
Solid Waste Support of planning for the proper management and disposal of solid waste.
Water Quality Support of improved water quality with emphasis on the Metropolitan Sewer District and improved communications between MSD and the citizens.
Support changes that better meet the needs of both city and county.
Government - Where We Stand
County Reorganization Support of reorganization of St. Louis County under a pre-mediated plan which would permit all areas to be considered of equal importance, prevent haphazard annexations and incorporations, and promote planning for growth and development, thereby benefiting not only the County, but the entire St. Louis region. Responsibility for providing services should be divided appropriately between the municipalities and the County. Fire and emergency medical services in St. Louis County should be organized so that all residents receive high quality service, provided with optimal efficiency, economy and accountability.
Support of a balanced and equitable tax system to finance necessary governmental services in the County and its municipalities.
Kirkwood Support of the Chief Administrator Officer form of government with continued interest in the Kirkwood City Charter.
Support of a Public Library that meets the needs of the residents. Support of adequate financing, long-range planning, and a library board which is representative of all segments of the community.
St. Louis City Re-study and update of position in support of legislation that would call for a change in the current method of total at-large election of school board members for the St. Louis Public Schools. Support St. Louis City revitalization.
Support of city charter revision for reducing the size of the Board of Alderman.
Support for health care for the un/underinsured.
Support welfare reform as it affects citizens of the St. Louis region.
Support the preservation of green space in Forest Park.
University City Support of the Council-Manager form of government for the city of University City, with continued interest in the city charter.
City and County Charters Support of effective, efficient, responsive and responsible St. Louis City and County governments.
Finances/Taxes Support for an open budget process which provides adequate and timely information to citizens and allows for citizen participation.
Support for long-range fiscal planning for municipalities and St. Louis County.
Support of the use of county property tax dollars to benefit St. Louis County and all county residents.
Support of governmental units, including St. Louis County, disseminating information regarding the services they provide.
Support for streamlining city government and the relationship with other agencies paid by the city and commissions appointed by government that function only in the City of St. Louis.
Home Rule Action to promote charters that will insure good government in such municipalities in this League area whose citizens have shown a desire for charter government.
Support for inclusion in a charter of a provision for periodic review.
Services Support for a comprehensive governmental structure, regional in scope, whose functions are to plan for the long-range development and/or deliver services to the citizens of metropolitan St. Louis.
Support for a regional governing body, chosen by direct election on the basis of proportional representation, taking into consideration a rural-urban formula.
Transit Support a public mass transit system that meets the needs of the community, and as an alternative to the automobile, with emphasis on a fully representative governing board and adequate financing from federal, state and local levels, with all local half-cent transportation sales tax going to Metro.
Zoo-Museum District Support of the current level of property tax funding for the present member districts of the Zoo-Museum Taxing District.
Support of increases in rate of funding from public sources by a subdistrict and of the formation of new subdistricts which meet established criteria.