I’ve been a resident of the City of St. Louis for 71 years, a fire fighter for 40 years, and Fire Chief for eight years. My livelihood as a fire fighter and my very life depended upon the City’s earnings tax to pay for fire safety equipment, maintenance to streets and water systems and the salaries and benefits for me and all people in the Fire Department.
As mentioned in an Op-Ed last week, working people throughout St. Louis have a lot at stake when city voters head to the polls on April 6. In addition to voting on candidates, City voters will decide the future of our city’s earnings tax – a decision that will have a direct impact on everyone who works in or for our city, especially for union members, as I was for four decades. If you care about good union jobs in our city, vote Yes on Proposition E on April 6.
If we don’t vote Yes on Prop E, numerous city workers could lose their jobs, their benefits, and maybe leave the region altogether. The City would be forced to cut spending across the board. City residents would suffer from devastating service cuts, while city contracts would dry up.
A future without the city’s earnings tax would mean delayed response times from fire fighters, EMTs and other first responders, cuts to road maintenance and snow removal – which are critical to emergency response times – and many other services.
Fewer public services would hurt all working families, but especially Black and brown communities. No matter how leaders might try to address this loss of income, eliminating the earnings tax would devastate the City and entire region for years to come.
Like me, a majority of City residents support renewing the earnings tax because it supports good jobs for public workers with good benefits and pensions. City voters know this revenue is critical to supporting the essential City services that make St. Louis a great place to live and work.
Please support working people and families in the City of St. Louis. City voters – vote YES on Prop E to renew the Earnings Tax on Tuesday, April 6.
Retired Fire Chief – City of St. Louis
Member of the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board
Steering Committee of Missouri Jobs with Justice