While today’s primary will determine what the ballot looks like come November, the Secretary of State’s office has also announced which ballot petitions were certified for the November vote.
Two proposed changes to state statutes got enough signatures to make the ballot, one related to earnings taxes, the other related to dog breeders (otherwise known as the “puppy mill” initiative).
“The language for these have been approved for a little while now. This was just the actual certification process, so now those two will be on the November ballot,” said Abe Rakov with the Secretary of State’s office.
The petition relating to earnings taxes reads:
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
• repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets;
• require voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax to approve continuation of such tax at the next general municipal election and at an election held every 5 years thereafter;
• require any current earnings tax that is not approved by the voters to be phased out over a period of 10 years; and
• prohibit any city from adding a new earnings tax to fund their budget?
The proposal could eliminate certain city earnings taxes. For 2010, Kansas City and the City of St. Louis budgeted earnings tax revenue of $199.2 million and $141.2 million, respectively. Reduced earnings tax deductions could increase state revenues by $4.8 million. The total cost or savings to state and local governmental entities is unknown.
The petition relating to dog breeders reads:
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
• 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” for any violations?
It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities.
Rakov says this should give Missourians plenty of time to become familiar with what they’ll be voting on.
“You can go on our website… and they’ll be there. They’ll be on sample ballots when they get sent out closer to the November election. So hopefully people have time to review them to know what they’re voting on,” Rakov said.
Two other initiative petitions that made it to the signature gathering phase were not able to get certified. One related to real estate taxes, and the other aimed to repeal the state’s nonpartisan court plan.
“The two that fell short did not have the required number of signatures for constitutional changes. What happens is, our office will receive the petitions with all the signatures. We then send them out to the local election authorities who verify the signatures to make sure they’re valid and do an initial count by county. Then all the petitions come back to our office and we compile that information and determine if enough signatures were there,” Rakov said.
The two petitions that were certified were both statutory changes, which required valid signatures from 5% of the total votes cast in six of the state’s nine congressional districts, approximately, 92,000-99,000 signatures.
“For a constitutional change, that changes to 8% of the votes cast in the 2008 gubanatorial election from 6 of the 9 congressional districts, which is a minimum of 147,000 signatures.
The two that didn’t qualify were both constitutional changes.
The Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee plans to file a lawsuit challenging the finding that the measure addressing real estate taxes did not have enough certified signatures. In a press release, the sponsors say they believe there were adequate signatures on thousands of petitions submitted in May.