Monday, April 28, 2014


Mr. Dooley:

You are lucky to have your staff.  They believe in you.  I don't.  I have heard too many stories about you that include the words "scandal".

But today, after a number of calls to your office asking for accounting of the monies from Prop A, I was finally connected to someone.

Probably because I called the MO Department of Revenue and asked for the sales tax collected.  DOR sent me a report with the breakdown for 2011, 2012, 2013 and the first three months of 2014.

Prop A has collected about 78 million dollars a year for 11, 12, and 13. (Apparently it was not a bond measure, it was just revenue.  Which makes a lot more sense, and I wish someone had explained that earlier.)

I called your office, Mr. Dooley, to find out how much of that went to Metro.  A man explained to me that Metro has to submit a request for funds, and the request is put before the county board.  The man was not certain if all of the money collected was for Metro or not.  But apparently, either way, it doesn't go straight to Metro for them to decide what to do with it.

The people in your office also went out of their way to tell me what a great guy you are and how you only have the public interest at heart.

I hope that is true.  (EDIT: It is possible that all of the smear comes from former Metro CEO Larry Salci, although a lot of his allegations against you do ring true:    EDIT THE EDIT:  I am going to give you the "Hollywood movie" version of the benefit of the doubt, too, that occurred to me as I walked in a truly cinematic St. Louis sunset, that you are the beleaguered good guy, trying to work the corruption for the people, and being vilified for it.  I don't know that I feel that way, but it did occur to me, that you could be pushing your guys because there was no other trustworthy option. But for that to be true, you would need to make financial affairs much more transparent, and available to the public in a way that is understandable to the average person.  Taxpayers should not need an advanced degree to understanding where their money is being spent.)

If that is true I promise to apologize.  If it is true, than I hope you will work with the public to make sure that Metro is spending its' funds wisely and well.  I hope you will look at some of the suggestions I have made for improving transit and that you will do what you can to make this a city with a world class public transportation system.

I hope you will encourage voters to ask more questions about what our money is being used for, and to educate the public on what the right questions are.

I will leave this space below to be filled in with the numbers on where these monies went, including a list of what Metro requested.

From MO DOR, Tax Type 383, effective July 2010:

Total collected, 2011: $ 78,047,485.91

Total collected, 2012: $ 76,835,569.43

Total collected, 2013: $ 78,780,868.07

We pay very high sales tax rates:

This does not include the .25% collected solely for Metrolink:

Three principal sources of municipal revenue in St. Louis County are sales taxes, property taxes and taxes on utilities. Rates vary among the 91 cities in St. Louis County, but all cities receive a substantial portion of their revenues from these sources.

Sales taxes: Retail sales in St. Louis County are subject to state sales tax (4.225%), a transportation sales tax (0.5%), a mass transit sales tax for Metrolink (0.25%) a children's services sales tax (0.25%),and a Regional Parks and Trails sales tax (0.1%) plus a one percent (1%) local sales tax that is distributed among the 91 municipalities and St. Louis County. St. Louis County's share is based on the unincorporated population of St. Louis County. Thus, the base retail sales tax rate throughout St. Louis County is 6.325%. Local Sales Tax rates are monitored by the Missouri Department of Revenue, which is responsible for the collection of sales taxes.
Sales tax distribution: A complex set of rules governs the distribution of the one percent local sales tax in St. Louis County. Some cities, designated point-of-sale or "A" cities, retain most of the sales tax revenues collected from businesses within their boundaries. These are cities that had had local sales taxes before the countywide levy was enacted. Other cities, designated pool or "B" cities, share revenues with others in the pool on a per capita basis. Unincorporated St. Louis County is part of the pool. Legislation passed in 1993 provides for some sharing of revenues by point-of-sale cities: a sliding scale is used to calculate amounts contributed to the pool by point-of-sale cities. Finally, areas annexed by point-of-sale cities after 1995 remain in the sales tax pool. As a result, some cities have both point-of-sale and pool portions and are thus designated "A/B" cities.
Local sales tax rates: In addition to the one percent local retail sales tax that is collected countywide, there are five local option sales taxes that individual cities may levy. (1) The 1993 revenue reform legislation allows cities to levy an additional one quarter percent tax. Twelve and one-half (12.5) percent of that additional money is shared with the members of the one cent pool. (2) Cities may levy an additional 0.5 percent for capital improvements projects. For this tax, cities elect to participate in a revenue-sharing pool or retain 85 percent of revenue generated by this tax. (3) Another 0.5 percent sales tax may be levied for park and stormwater projects. (4) A .25 percent fire protection service sales tax for cities with fire protection responsibilities. (5) Up to 0.5% sales tax for economic development purposes If all of the above taxes are levied by a given city, the total retail sales tax rate is 8.325 percent. In addition, Transportation Development Districts can levy up to 1% in sales tax, and Community Improvement Districts can levy up to 1% in sales tax.
Property taxes: Most but not all St. Louis County municipalities levy a property tax for municipal purposes. Part of the reason for the wide range of municipal rates from zero to $1.27 is that twenty cities have their own fire departments paid for out of city revenues while most of the rest obtain their fire protection and ambulance service from fire protection districts which have separate property tax levies. A few cities use municipal revenues to contract for fire service from neighboring municipalities or fire protection districts. Cities also vary as to what services they pay for with city revenues; trash collection and parks and recreation services in some cases are provided at city expense and in many cases are not. Most cities tax personal as well as real property. Those which do not are indicated in the table as excluding personal property.
Utilities gross receipts taxes: Cities in Missouri are authorized to levy these taxes on utility bills paid to electric, gas, telephone, water and sewer companies. Cities have not levied them on sewer charges, however. For cities there is no maximum rate. Villages levy these charges on the electric utility only at a maximum rate of two percent. Some cities have different rates on different utilities, and some have different rates for residential and non-residential customers.

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