Letter writer finds Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to be taxing

To the editor:

After reading the recent story in the Call concerning the Mehlville Fire Protection District, I have come to the conclusion that Attorney General Chris Koster is the designated lightning rod on tax issues.

Fellow Democrats Susan Montee and Robin Carnahan are on the ballot this fall and wish to be elected. Susan wants her job as state auditor for another four years and Robin wants to be in the U.S. Senate.

But as to Mr. Koster, I wonder if he looked at the ordinance setting up the April 6 Metro sales-tax election with the same eyes as he did toward the MFPD.

In that Metro ordinance, the County Council refers to Section 94.660 of Missouri law. Paraphrasing that law, it states that the city and county may propose, by ordinance or order, a transportation sales tax of up to 1 percent for submission to the voters of those jurisdictions at an authorized election date selected by the governing body.

Currently, the sales-tax rate for that purpose in the county is a transportation sales tax of 0.5 percent and a mass-transit sales tax for MetroLink of 0.25 percent. That is the same as in the city. If this measure wins, sales tax in the county goes up 0.5 percent while the city’s tax will kick in only 0.25 percent based on their previous vote and the state law.

With the 0.5 percent now on the ballot, the county either doesn’t know how to count or it is forgetting to explain why the sum total is now 1.25 percent and the city’s contribution will only be 1 percent to Metro.

Last spring when Metro all but terminated service to south and west county, Metro decided to base it on several elements and one of them was “social and environmental justice.” Mr. Koster did not jump in there with both feet with the obvious denial of public accommodation to those living in those areas. Nor did he yell and scream about equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, where in the state statute does the county have the authority to require Metro, a regional entity, to enter into a contract to receive tax money that the people voted for in an election?

I would at least like to see that and the contract first.

Based on his past history, he is nothing more than the fox guarding the hen house.

James F. Schaper