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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey St. Louis, About That Billionaire Knocking on Your Door...

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:39 PM

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Attention St. Louis City residents: If this guy knocks on your door in the next few weeks, don't worry. He's not -- we repeat not -- a Jehovah's Witness. Though he is attempting to convert you.

His name is Rex Sinquefield, and he wants your help eliminating the city's 1 percent earnings tax.

Sinquefield -- for the uninformed -- is a fabulously wealthy investment guru worth millions, or is it billions? We're not sure, but this we know: The dude's annual 1040 form contains a lot of zeros. And well, Sinquefield doesn't like that.

The man hates paying income taxes, which is why he's trying to get rid of Missouri's income tax as well as the one-percent earnings tax in St. Louis.

To that end, Sinquefield has just formed a campaign committee called Let Voters Decide that plans to start collecting signatures soon to do away with the city's earnings tax.

Instead of paying income and earnings taxes -- in which the more you make, the more you're taxed -- Sinquefield wants to boost sales taxes.

In his mind, this is a more equitable way of taxing the public -- a theory that makes lots o' cents if you're loaded but not so if you're middle-class (or below) and forced to pay additional sales taxes to make up for the elimination of income taxes.

So, folks, just remember this before Sinquefield (or, more likely, his paid staff of petition gatherers) knocks on your door: The city earnings tax supports about one-third of the St. Louis budget -- $141 million last year. As a city, are we willing to forgo that funding in the hopes that sales taxes will make up for the loss of the earnings tax money?

The cash registers at St. Louis Centre and the rest of the city's malls and shopping centers will really have to pick up speed to make that happen. Wait a second. Scratch that last statement. It might be flawed.

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