Doesn't it suck when Jay Nixon and Francis Slay get on opposite sides of an issue? Where do we go?
They're on opposite sides of Amendment 7, the largest tax increase in Missouri history. And you need to choose a side before August 5, because the ball's in the voters' court.
But there's no need to fear; Hennessy is here. And I heard Francis the talking Mayor on KMOX this morning (or maybe it was yesterday) talking about how much he loves, Loves, LOVES the 3/4 cent sales tax increase theoretically for transportation.
Note the keywords: theoretically and transportation. Not roads, highways, bridges, and infrastructure. In fact, taxes raised by a $480 million per year sales tax increase could go to anything--anything at all. And that's why Mayor Slay loves, Loves, LOVES Amendment 7.
And it's also why St. Louis Tea Party's eyes and ears in Jefferson City (and our favorite St. Louis Police Sergeant) Gary Wiegert has organized a Stop 7 Sign Wave, about which more in due course.
First, Hizzanuh on Amendment 7, straight from the Mayor's blog:
Amendment 7 is a breakthrough for urban transportation policy in Missouri. For the first time ever, the state would support major funding not just for highways and bridges but also for special transportation needs and opportunities in cities like ours.
If Slay had stopped there, we still wouldn't know how he'd
squander spend those $480 million. But he wasn't finished.
A 'Yes' vote would make state funding available for large-scale mass transit, pedestrian, cycling, greenways, access for the disabled, and “complete streets” projects in neighborhoods throughout the City of St. Louis.
Ah, greenways. More grass for the city to maintain at $10,312 per acre (as opposed to the county's $2191 per acre) (H/T Rex Sinquefield and Jen Bird). NextSTL obtain the whole list of stuff the city plans to build with your sales tax dollars. As far as I can tell, none of the city's plans will get you from Wildwood to Scottrade and back any faster or safer. But if you like biking through city parks on a Saturday, well, there a $100 million in it for you.
Nothing the city plans will make roads wider, safer, or stronger. No crumbling bridges will be replaced. But Slay's union boss buddies will get a big payout, and so will left-leaning construction millionaires.
Amendment 7 is a scam.
Mike Lee and Tom Graves Already Solved This Problem
Luckily, there's good news on transportation. We can upgrade the interstates, improve the bridges, widen the lanes. Hell, we might even get some Kramer lanes in Missouri--if only our Congressional delegation would get behind the Transportation Empowerment Act.
I've blogged about the TEA (like that acronym?) before, and I like it better now. Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Tom Graves originated this bill that would allow states to keep the federal gasoline tax generated in each state. That money would be allocated by the legislature and MODOT where we need it, with no federal strings attached. And Mayor Slay would have to fight dollars against the rest of the state.
Rally on Thursday
Now that we're clear on the downs and downs of Amendment 7, here's your chance to fight it.
Gary Wiegert has organized a Stop 7 Sign Wave. It's Thursday, July 17 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm on Olive Blvd. from Lindbergh west. Kenny Newhouse will have the signs at the intersection. DO NOT STAND IN MEDIAN. If you can get there. people do.
Update: A concerned taxpayer sent in this evidence of MoDOT using tax dollars to beg for more tax dollars: http://vimeo.com/100870370