To the editor:
Thousands — maybe millions — of dollars are being spent to encourage citizens to unite behind an effort to somehow merge the city of St. Louis into St. Louis County.
Perhaps we would be better served if the moneys and efforts were expended to correct the real reason a merger is being considered.
In 1950, a thriving city grew to a population of over 850,000 people.
Today, a debt-ridden city has a population of less than 320,000 people. St. Louis County’s population exceeds 950,000.
Currently, the city of St. Louis has an unfunded pension debt of $503 million. The city faces $77 million in annual debt service that finances an ill-advised, seldom-used billion-dollar airport runway.
With a merger, current law will require the county to take over the maintenance of a hundred or more miles of arterial roadways within the city.
Questionable is the continuance of the city’s 1-percent earnings tax, which provides 30 percent of the city’s revenue. If abandoned, would county residents be taxed to make up the shortfall?
Or would this tax be added to the county’s tax bill?
Current law will require the city to share sales-tax revenues with the county.
The city can ill afford to lose any source of revenue.
There are a dozen more questions about tax impositions that may be forced on county residents.
Instead of submitting to the thousands of dollars of hype about “Better Together,” please join the thousands of voices that oppose any form of a city-county merger.