The Lake Saint Louis Board of Aldermen approved a resolution at its July 21 meeting asking that state legislators vote against an override of Gov. Jay Nixon’s June veto of legislation that provides sale tax exemptions that may cut into city coffers.
St. Peters Board of Aldermen is considering a similar resolution.
Local municipal and county officials are worried that the exemptions could take a significant bite out of their revenues and hinder services they can provide.
Lake Saint Louis’ resolution singles out six of the 10 vetoed bills – Senate Bills 584,693, 662, 612 and House bills 1296 and 1865. The bills would provide tax breaks to grocery stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, utility companies and others.
According to Nixon, the tax breaks provided by the bills could cost the state $776 million annually –including a $351 million reduction in local government taxes statewide. Legislators supporting the bills say that Nixon’s numbers aren’t right and that the breaks help small business owners and create jobs. However, local government officials say the impact of the bills remains unclear and they have been seeking more precise information about the possible impact on their budgets.
Until more is known, Lake Saint Louis officials are holding back on about $500,000 in purchases and other expenditures, including the hiring of a part-time code enforcement officer and police record clerk. Sales tax provides about 30 percent of the city’s revenue
Alderman John Pellerito (Ward 3) asked board members at the July 21 meeting to include a discussion of the impact of an override of Nixon’s vetoes.
“How are we going to render services after we lose that money?” Pellerito asked.
The St. Peters resolution states that the bills provide tax breaks to “special interests” and could have “a severe impact on the city of St. Peters operating budget.” It asserts that special exemptions were inserted in the bills at the last minute and local government officials had no chance to make their voices heard, and it states that the bills could leave “residents, businesses and taxpayers with reduced services or cuts in services.”
There was no prolonged discussion of the resolution when the bill was introduced at a St. Peters board meeting on June 26, however, the board agreed to take up the resolution in August.
City officials say St. Peters might lose at least $500,000 in sales tax revenue with an override.