Lobbying group unhappy with election results

Americans For Prosperity-Missouri said this week it was “disappointed” that voters around the state approved nearly three-fourths of the tax increase and bond issue proposals on Tuesday’s ballot.

“We are sorry that so many Missourians will be paying their local governments higher taxes in the months and years to come, taking money directly out of the Missouri economy,” Patrick Werner, the lobbying group’s state director, said in a news release.

“Americans for Prosperity recognizes that many Missourians don’t turn out for their local election and were probably unaware of the ballot proposals that could directly affect their pocketbook,” Werner continued. “This is why it is so crucial for citizens to become educated about and involved in their local government.”

AFP-MO had counted 283 municipal, county and school district tax hikes on this week’s ballots, and noted in the news release it had “held educational town halls to help citizens fight back.”

On its website, americansforprosperity.org/missouri, the organization said it’s “part of the nation’s premier grassroots organization committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity.” The organization “reflects the belief of its grass roots members that reducing the size and scope of government is the best way to achieve individual productivity and prosperity.”

Their goal is to work “with citizen leaders to educate and engage them and their communities in support of restraining local, state, and federal government growth.”

Missouri’s Constitution and laws require voters to approve tax increases — and bond issues, because they create longer-term debts that must be paid off, require a super-majority vote for approval, either a four-sevenths margin in some elections, like Tuesday’s, or a two-thirds majority in lower-turnout elections.

In February, when he announced at a Capitol news conference that AFP-MO was launching a 2013 Municipal Tax Project to let lawmakers and the public know about this month’s ballot issues, Werner told reporters: “We want people to know they could get hit many times with various local, state and federal tax increases by April or May. ...

“Maybe these aren’t the best solutions. Maybe there’s different ways to look at it.”

This week’s news release said the organization already is “making plans to ramp up its Municipal Project for next year to include greater transparency by requiring all sample ballots to be posted online, providing resources to better educate local officials and citizens on the economic impact of local tax proposals, and providing programs for activists to fight back against future tax increases.”

At the February news conference, Werner told reporters: “Take it to the people and let them decide.”

In Mid-Missouri, Jefferson City and Climax Springs school district voters rejected two tax increase and/or bond issue proposals in each district, and California voters said no to a “use” tax on vehicles and other items purchased out-of-state.

But voters in Moniteau and Camden counties, and Osage Beach city, approved new use taxes.

Boone County voters approved a tax increase to improve their 911 emergency call services.

Lake Mykee voters in Callaway County OK’d a $1.5 million bond issue.

And Camdenton School District patrons said yes to building improvements.

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