Cole County Judge Jon Beetem heard the case of Pat Dujakovich, et al., versus Secretary of State Robin Carnahan Friday, Sept. 17. Kansas City Attorney Galen Beaufort represented Dujakovich, who was asking Proposition A to be removed from the Nov. 2 ballot.
Beetem ruled in favor of the defendant in the case, meaning the measure will remain on the ballot. An appeal is expected, although Beaufort admits time is of the essense and the appeals court would have to act quickly to allow enough time for ballots to be reprinted.
Proposition A, if passed, would give St. Louis and Kansas City residents the authority to vote for or against their current one percent earnings tax. The cities say that tax accounts for up to one third of their general revenue, and that city services, such as fire protection, would be hurt. A study done by the University of Missouri-St. Louis says it’s only 15 percent.
The same study says “In 2009, Kansas City’s earnings tax collected $204 million, and St. Louis City’s tax collected $141 million.”
Although the measure would directly impact St. Louis and Kansas City, it’s a statewide vote because Proposition A would also prevent any other cities from implementing an earnings tax. Beaufort claims the onus is on the two cities to educate votors statewide about the issues, when it would be much easier and much more affordable to restrict the decision to the two metro areas.
Marc Ellinger defended the constitutionality of Prop A in the courtroom. He’s an attorney with Let Voters Decide, the group behind the campaign to get it passed.
(Beaufort could not be reached for comment.)