PERSPECTIVE: Absentee voting begins; ballot issues clarified

There are more indications the November General Election is drawing near, as absentee voting opened this week.

Voters may either cast an absentee ballot with their local election authority or request one through the mail. Voting may be done in person until 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 or requested by mail no later than Oct. 27, at 5 p.m.

In order to cast an absentee ballot, the individual must state a reason why they will not be able to vote on Election Day.

Missouri’s courts are typically busy prior to an election sorting out challenges to ballot proposals. This year is no different.

The proposal to prohibit taxes on real estate transfers has cleared its final hurdle and will be placed before the voters. It appears as though voters will also be asked to decide whether St. Louis and Kansas City will still be allowed to levy an earnings tax within their boundaries.

The proposal is the result of an initiative petition funded in part by one individual. Mr. Rex Sinquefield is a successful businessman who believes Missouri’s economy is being hampered by excessive taxes.

In addition to federal and state income taxes, citizens within the boundaries of Missouri’s two largest cities also pay a city earnings tax. Most towns in Missouri fund their operations with sales taxes. Kansas City and St. Louis also levy sales taxes.

The proposal has been challenged in court on the grounds it contained too many subjects and improperly altered Kansas City’s charter.

Cole County Judge Jon Beetem ruled against both claims although he left open the possibility to revisit the issue again if the measure is approved.

If the proposal passes, Kansas City and St. Louis will be required to allow their citizens to vote on whether to retain or eliminate the earnings tax.

Towns which currently do not levy an earnings tax would be prohibited from future enactment.

Organizations representing government workers, recipients of tax dollars, governmental entities, and labor unions have joined together against the issue.

A group calling themselves “Let the Voters Decide” is comprised of business interests and limited government advocates and is the primary proponent of the proposal.

As usual, I can be reached at State Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO, 65101 or 573-751-2076, or carl_vogel@senate. mo.gov for your questions, comments, or advice.

State Sen. Carl Vogel, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri’s 6th District.

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