They are drawing close — the Tuesday, April 3, elections. That’s a date to remember for citizens of Franklin County and Washington.
It’s an unusual election day because there will be two tax proposals before voters in the county and in Washington. How did it happen — two tax proposals at the same election? Poor timing? Which entity is to blame? Poor communication between Washington and the county?
It’s a waste of time to try to assess blame. We have to face up to the matter that we have two important tax proposals before us April 3.
There are people who say The Missourian has never seen a tax proposal that the newspaper didn’t like. Like other voters, we try to make a decision based on the merits of the tax, and vote accordingly. The overriding issue is, are the taxes good for the majority of the people? Will the people benefit?
There is no doubt here that both the county and the city proposals have merit and will be good for the majority of people. Both can be justified as well worth the taxes we will pay.
The Washington proposal is a renewal of a half-cent sales tax for capital improvements. It has a sunset clause. City officials will inform voters of what has been accomplished in the past with this tax. It’s an impressive record. The city had a study committee that considered projects. The list is completed. It’s a “move forward” or perhaps more correctly, it’s a continued “forward movement” for the city and its citizens.
The county’s Proposition P is a countywide half-cent sales tax, with half the money for jail improvements and the other half to be divided among law enforcement agencies to increase the pay for officers. Our county jail is overcrowded. It’s just a matter of time before the county will face a court order to provide more space. The county went through that before. We don’t need a judicial repeat!
The county and municipalities are losing officers to other nearby jurisdictions that offer more pay. Take Washington. Since the summer of 2016, Washington has lost 11 officers. Two more are leaving. The department will be short five officers when that happens.
The pay increases amount to $15,000 or $20,000 a year in nearby jurisdictions, especially in St. Louis County.
Being a law enforcement officer today is hazardous duty. Almost daily, we hear of another police officer, or deputy, being shot in the line of duty. With the drug scene and the easy accessibility to guns, this may be the most dangerous era in our nation’s history for law enforcement officers.
We must pay our officers more!
We hope voters will pay attention to the information that will be given about both tax proposals. These are important issues. Both have merit!