Committee Formed to Support Let Voters Decide Initiative

Jefferson City, Jan. 20, 2010 – Papers were filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission to establish a ballot measure committee in support of a statewide voter initiative dealing with local earnings taxes in Missouri.

The group, named Let Voters Decide, will soon start gathering the roughly 100,000 voter signatures needed to place the initiative on the November 2010 statewide ballot.

Attorney Marc Ellinger, a spokesman for the new group, explained that various versions of an earnings tax measure had previously been submitted for review by the Secretary of State, but only one of them is to be circulated and ultimately headed to the ballot.

“The statutory initiative measure we will pursue does not automatically repeal the existing earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City,” said Ellinger. “It’s designed to give voters in those cities the right to decide for themselves, in local elections, whether they want to continue the earnings tax in their city or phase it out gradually over a period of ten years. The initiative also prohibits any new local earnings taxes in communities that don’t currently have one, so it protects people in the rest of the state from having a local earnings tax imposed in their city or town.”

With regard to St. Louis and Kansas City, Ellinger explained that the initiative requires local “sunset” votes on the existing 1% earnings tax in each city every five years starting in 2011. The tax would continue as long as the majority of voters continue to approve it in those local votes. If, in a future local election, the majority of local voters in St. Louis or Kansas City vote against continuing the earnings tax, it would be phased out in their city gradually, over a period of ten years, at the rate of one-tenth of a percent per year.

Ellinger said the primary initial funding for the Let Voters Decide campaign has been provided by retired Missouri businessman and philanthropist Rex Sinquefield. Travis H. Brown, who heads up the Pelopidas L.L.C., a consulting firm that represents Sinquefield, will serve as Chairman of Let Voters Decide.