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Government, Politics & Issues

Seven initiative petitions approved for circulation for 2010 ballot

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 29, 2009 - Seven new initiative petitions meet state standards for circulation, according to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Fiveof the petitions deal with eliminating city earnings taxes. The other two would regulate dog breeders to prevent so-called puppy mills.

The ballot initiatives on earnings taxes could have a major impact on St. Louis, which collects a 1 percent earnings tax on city residents and anyone working within the city limits.

The wording of the various initiatives varies, but all have certain similar provisions.

  • the authority of certain cities, namely St. Louis and Kansas City, to use earnings taxes would be repealed;
  • cities that have an earnings tax vote have to vote to continue it;
  • any earnings tax not approved by the voters would have to be phased out;
  • no city could add an earnings tax in the future.

For 2010, according to Carnahan's office, Kansas City and St. Louis budgeted earnings tax revenue of $199.2 million and $141.2 million, respectively. Reduced earnings tax deductions could increase state revenue by $4.8 million. The total cost or savings to state and local governmental entities is unknown. state and local governmental entities is unknown.
Marc H. Ellinger of Jefferson City submitted the five petitions on earnings taxes.

The petitions concerning dog breeders would:

  •  "require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;
  •  "prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and
  • "create a misdemeanor crime of 'puppy mill cruelty'."

The secretary of state's office estimates that this petition would cost $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local agencies may have other enforcement-related costs.
Barbara Schmitz of St. Louis submitted the petitions on dog breeders.

Before any measure can go on the statutory changes can go on the November 2010 election, signatures must be obtained from registeredvoters equal to 5 percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts.

Signatures must be delivered to the secretary of state's office by close of business May 2, 2010.

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