The Missouri House has endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that could prohibit tax hikes from being decided during municipal elections. The measure is intended to require counties, cities and other entities to place proposals for new or higher taxes or fees on the November general election ballot.
Rep. Ben Baker of Neosho explains why he supports it.
“For instance, our municipal election in Neosho last week- we had an eight percent turnout. If you would have had a tax on that ballot, you would have had eight percent of the people deciding for everybody and I think it’s a bad idea. If you move that to the November general election, you’re talking about a 50 or 60 percent turnout.”
KZRG asked why the legislature is getting involved. Shouldn’t the outcome of an election hinge on the personal responsibility of each voter to make it a priority to head to the polls?
“We need better participation. The data shows that typically that the November general elections are a lot better turnout. And the idea is that moving it to that, you’re getting a lot more participation in those situations. There’s two sides to this. There’s pros and cons and I think the pros outweigh the cons.”
Baker also believes those that support tax increases often push to have those initiatives on the April ballot.
“It’s a lot easier to manage a campaign for a sales tax when you’re talking about a much smaller percentage of the people.”
If passed by the House and Senate, the proposed amendment would go before statewide voters in 2020.