By ED FINKELSTEIN
Three propositions on upcoming April 4 ballot – two in the city of St. Louis and one in St. Louis County — whose outcome will have lasting long-term impact on both communities, received the “YES” endorsement of the Greater St. Louis Labor Council at its monthly meeting Feb. 21.
ST. LOUIS CITY
- Prop 1 is a half cent sales tax is expected to raise $20 million, half to provide the local match for a new North-South Metrolink line, the other half for anti-crime measures, neighborhood revitalization and infrastructure improvements throughout the city.
- Prop 2 is a small sales tax on businesses that make out-of-state purchases. Citizens will NOT pay this tax. This money will be used for the city’s cost share of building a new soccer stadium towards which private investors will pony up $250 million.
For Prop 2 to be implemented, Prop 1 must pass.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY
- Prop P(olice) will be a one half of one percent sales tax expected to raise $80 million annually earmarked exclusively for public safety and law enforcement needs both in the county ($46 million) and its municipalities based on population ($34 million).
This will be used to hire more police, a second offer in patrol cars, needed salary boosts (no raises since 2007), expanded officer training, body cameras for all officers, dashboard cameras in all police cars and development of a computerized crime reporting system.
“This is an investment in our future,” County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. “In order to create new businesses and thus more jobs creating a vibrant economy, we have to have safe communities. While we are safe today, what will five to 10 years from now look like” if we don’t have enough police” that are appropriately equipped and paid enough that allows them to take care of their families?
CITY SOCCER STADIUM
Speaking to the soccer stadium proposal, consultant Jeff Aboussie pointed out that the team owner group will have a legally rock solid 30-year contract to prevent them from moving the franchise to another city like the Rams did, will pay for any cost overruns and all on-going maintenance. Meanwhile, the city will own the new stadium.
He noted the project will be built all-union, creating more than 450 construction jobs and 428 permanent jobs once opened, adding more than a half billion dollars to the city’s economy.
“It is time to invest in ourselves and in our future,” Aboussie said.
The council unanimously endorsed all three propositions.