(The Center Square) – Voters throughout Missouri approved a wide range of tax increases, with the largest a $24 million property tax in the St. Louis region for its community college system. Voter turnout across the state ranged from 16% of eligible voters casting ballots in St. Joseph to 3% in Franklin County.
A sampling of the websites of Missouri’s 114 counties found two tax initiatives not passing. Peculiar’s 20-cent tax increase per $100 assessed valuation for public parks was defeated with 74.47% disapproving; 9.38% of eligible voters cast ballots in the municipality. Clayton’s 18-cent tax increase per $100 assessed valuation for general municipal purposes was defeated with 54.4% voting against it.
Proposition R asked for an increase in property taxes in St. Louis city and county and parts of Franklin and Jefferson County for the St. Louis Community College system. It passed with 54.25% (30,248 votes) of the vote in St. Louis County and 72.51% (11,051) in the city. A majority of those voting in Franklin County (213 or 71.24%) and Jefferson County (89 or 57.05%) voted against the increase.
“We are very grateful for the incredible support we received from voters across St. Louis who recognized the importance of St. Louis Community College for our entire region,” Jeff Pittman, chancellor of St. Louis Community College, said in a statement. “The revenue created through Proposition R will be instrumental in ensuring our community college facilities and programs can keep pace with the demands of our evolving workforce.”
Many large companies in the St. Louis region and several business leaders supported the tax increase to help workforce development in the region. Campaign finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission on July 25 showed total donations of $455,300 and expenditures of $352,901. The largest contributors in the reporting period were:
- Centene ($50,000)
- Cigna Holding Co. ($25,000)
- Edward Jones ($25,000)
- Mercy ($25,000)
- St. Louis University ($25,000)
- Washington University ($25,000)
- Cigna Holding Co. ($25,000)
- Regional Business Council ($20,000)
- Schnuck’s Markets ($20,000)
The tax increase will add approximately $24 million to the college’s annual budget of $160 million. Campaign materials stated the additional revenue will be used to fund approximately $350 million in new bonds to improve job training programs, update facilities and improve safety and security on the campuses.
The college’s enrollment decreased 37% during the last seven years to 15,206 total students in 2020. Full-time student enrollment decreased 46% to 5,411 during the same period on the system’s four campuses and two education centers. The college will receive almost 10% of the state’s $32.2 million in increases for higher education. It will receive $3 million of the $10 million appropriated for the state’s 12 community college systems. The amount is higher than the amount of eight of the state’s 10 four-year institutions – Missouri State University ($3.5 million) and the University of Missouri ($5.4 million) being the exceptions.
Other tax increases passed throughout Missouri include:
Frontenac: A property tax increase of $1 per $100 assessed valuation for police, fire and public works expenses was passed with 52.8% of the vote; 8.4% of eligible voters cast ballots.
Harrisonville: Voters passed a sales tax of one-half of 1% for operation of emergency services with 56.48% approving; 9.38% voter turnout.
Jefferson: A continuation of the current sales tax of one-half of 1% for the purpose of funding capital improvements from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2027, was approved by 72.66% of the vote; 5.8% voter turnout.
Meriam Woods: An additional property tax of 50 cents per $100 assessed valuation for road repair and maintenance, to expire in four years, passed with 67.23% of the vote; 5.04% voter turnout.
Republic: A sales tax of three-fourths of 1% to fund public safety, sunsetting after 25 years, passed with 71.61% percent of the vote; 11% voter turnout.
St. Joseph: A sales tax increases of one-half of 1% to fund local parks projects, with a sunset after 10 years, was passed by 71.13% of voters; 16.9% voter turnout.
Buchanan: A sales tax increase of an additional one-quarter percent to assist law enforcement with hiring additional criminal/drug investigators, additional patrol deputies, provide more competitive salaries and other crime-related expenditures was passed by 77.56% of voters; 16.9% voter turnout.
Camden: A sales tax increase of one-quarter of 1% for law enforcement, including sheriff’s department expenses, capital improvements, equipment and additional personnel was passed by 62.12% of voters; 9.14% voter turnout.
Jackson: Voters approved a property tax increase of 6.5 cents to $4.9228 per $100 assessed valuation with 72% of the vote; 8.1% voter turnout.
Jasper: Increasing the sales tax of one-tenth of 1% for emergency services infrastructure and a public safety radio system to ensure rapid dispatching of 9-1-1 calls passed with 72.46% of the vote; 5.13% voter turnout.
Taney: A sales tax one-half of 1% for sewer purposes for an additional 25 years was renewed by 79.27% of the vote; 5.04% voter turnout.
Blue Springs: A property tax increase of 6.5 cents to $4.9228 per $100 assessed valuation passed with 72.28% of the vote. A corresponding reduction of its debt service property tax levy of 6.5 cents passed with 82.19% of the vote; 8.1% voter turnout.
Strain-Japan: Maintaining the current operating tax levy of $3.7451 per $100 assess valuation was approved with 69.06% of the vote; 3.18% of voters cast ballots.
Walnut Grove: A property tax increase of 79 cents to $4.843 per $100 assessed valuation through 2040 to pay for building renovation and maintenance was passed with 56.92% of the vote; 11.01% voter turnout.
Originally Appeared Here