By: Michael Guzy

Things that seem too good to be true usually are. Nobody likes to give their money to the government. Appealing to that sentiment, Proposition A will be featured on the ballot this November, seeking to outlaw earnings taxes across Missouri. Presently, only St. Louis and Kansas City levy such a tax.

At first blush, the measure appears to be a reasonable effort to limit the reach of the tax man. Further analysis, however, reveals that this seemingly innocuous initiative would have dire consequences for all Missouri residents. To understand why, consider the case of St. Louis.

The earnings tax was instituted there in the 1954 to prevent property tax rates from spiraling out of control. Under the current arrangement, people who live or work in the city pay 1 percent of their income and employers pay a half percent of their payroll to fund public safety operations. The tax generates 39.2 percent of the city’s revenue.

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