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Editorial: Ballot initiatives

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Next Tuesday, Missouri voters will be asked to vote on several ballot initiatives. The following is a brief description of the initiatives and the Southeast Missourian editorial board's position on them.

* Constitutional Amendment No. 1 would require all county assessors to be elected. A yes vote would require those political subdivisions that have appointed assessors to make that office an elected position. A no vote would not change the current law. Recommendation: Oppose. Assessors are already elected in most counties, including in Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Scott and Perry counties. This amendment shifts the organizational structure for a county position from the local area, where it belongs.

* Constitutional Amendment No. 2 would exempt former prisoners of war that have a total service-connected disability from property taxes on property used as a homestead. A yes vote would exempt these individuals from homestead property taxes. A no vote would not change the current law. Recommendation: Split. We believe it is dangerous to begin crafting exemptions from taxes according to nonfinancial status. That said, if a group is worthy of such exemption, this is it.

* Constitutional Amendment No. 3 would amend the Missouri Constitution to prevent the state, counties and other political subdivisions from imposing any new real estate transfer tax. A yes vote would amend the Missouri Constitution to prevent this tax. A no vote would allow state, county and other political subdivisions the option of imposing this tax. Recommendation: Approve. Property owners already pay property taxes. This amendment curtails one possibility for double taxation on real estate and prevents additional complications -- and delays -- in real estate transfers.

* Proposition A would prevent Missouri cities, other than St. Louis and Kansas City, from imposing an earnings tax, and require voters of St. Louis and Kansas City to hold a separate vote every five years to determine if they wish to keep their current city earnings tax. Should these cities vote to stop the earnings tax, the tax could not be revoted on by the two cities. A no vote would keep the earnings tax option available for cities in Missouri. Recommendation: Oppose. This proposition is basically aimed at St. Louis and Kansas City. Better for voters there to make the decision for themselves through normal processes rather than to do an end-run.

* Proposition B would prevent large-scale dog breeding operations from neglecting dogs, and it would control the number of dogs available for breeding at each location. Violations would result in a misdemeanor crime of "puppy mill cruelty." A yes vote would impose these restrictions on dog breeders. A no vote would not change the current laws on breeding. Recommendation: Oppose. While the goal is worthy, the fine print of this measure is overly complicated.

* City of Cape Girardeau voters will be asked whether they support the licensing of gambling operations in Cape Girardeau. A yes vote would give the city the option to accept a gaming license. A no vote would prevent the city from being awarded a gaming license, thus preventing a casino from locating in Cape Girardeau. Recommendation: Approve. While we respect opponents to this measure, licensed gaming is legal in Missouri. We believe the advantages to a development here strongly outweigh the negatives. (See editorial, Sunday, Oct. 24, for a full perspective.)

* City of Jackson voters will be asked if the city should impose a sales tax of one-quarter of one percent for the purpose of providing revenue for the operation of the fire department. A yes vote would approve this tax for the fire department and pay for fire operations at a new station. A no vote would prevent the city from imposing the new tax. Recommendation: Approve. As Jackson continues to grow, the city needs to improve its fire response times and this would help.

We encourage all readers to read the full length explanation of each of these ballot issues. A detailed explanation of each issue can be found on the Missouri secretary of state's website, www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010ballot.

To read more election coverage, including election night results, go to www.semissourian.com/election.

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While I agree with your recommendation, Constitutional Amendment #1 applies ONLY to St. Louis County, not to any other county in the State.

-- Posted by SPSLE on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 8:37 AM

Who, exactly, are making these Recommendations? I strongly suggest everyone to read the ballot initiatives yourselves and make up your own minds.

-- Posted by SteveM on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 8:39 AM

I have to strongly disagree with the editorial board's opposition to Prop B.

Proposition B's requirements for large-scale, commercial dog breeding facilities are modest and straightforward. Unlike current regulations that are complex and vague, it will provide clear and consistent guidance to inspectors. Prop B requires access to nutritious food daily, continuous access to drinkable water, veterinary care for illness or injury, adequate space and exercise.

The humane standards in Prop B provide a clear road map for Missouri Department of Agriculture professionals to apply. Like any law, enforcement officials have discretion on when a violation is severe enough to warrant action, and will prioritize the most extreme cases of puppy mill cruelty. Please vote YES on Prop B! Help end the abuse in puppy mills.

-- Posted by Vote_Yes_on_Prop_B on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 9:32 AM

To end puppy mill abuse, it will take people to get involved and report them not another law. Nice try using emotions instead of common sense to pass an unnecessary law.

-- Posted by LiveAnotherDay on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 9:40 AM

Fine print? What fine print? Every Missourian should take 5 minutes and read Prop B for themselves:


-- Posted by chiang01 on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 11:40 AM

Fine print overly complicated? Current regulations in Missouri are extremely vague, which is why it is a magnet state for bad operators. Under existing law, you need a tape measure, a calculator, and animal handlers to determine if the space requirements are being violated.

Proposition B will increase enforcement in general, and specifically increase and facilitate local law enforcement as compared to the existing vague and highly technical puppy mill regulations.

For those interested in reading the act, and also seeing commonly asked questions about the act visit http://yesonpropb.com/about/qa

-- Posted by humanesarah on Tue, Oct 26, 2010, at 12:06 PM

Current laws haven't been effective at protecting the tens of thousands of dogs in Missouri's puppy mills, many who are suffering in terrible conditions. Proposition B would apply to both licensed and unlicensed puppy mills and give law enforcement the tools to enforce basic care standards for dogs. Many Missouri businesses, responsible breeders, veterinarians and vet clinics, and animal protection groups support this humane initiative -- not to mention that more than 190,000 Missourians signed the petition to put Prop B on the November ballot.

To learn more, please visit http://yesonpropb.com

-- Posted by AnneHSUS on Wed, Oct 27, 2010, at 4:39 PM

Anne and Sarah are back with the same Humane Society of U.S. talking points.

Vote NO on Prop B folks.

I agree with the desire to end animal cruelty, but this law will do NOTHING but add more text to unenforced laws.

It's just bad law.

It actually REDUCES the number of times a dog must be fed daily from 2 to 1.

Much more here:


-- Posted by bebo on Fri, Oct 29, 2010, at 11:40 AM

I have to disagree w/ SEMissourian editorial board on Prop A.

Prop A does not change the tax rates in StL or KC. It gives the people there the opportunity to vote out the Earnings / Income Tax!

MO law currently prevents StL / KC from voting out the tax. Prop A would give them that right.

Prop A would prevent POLICITIANS from enacting Earnings / Income taxes, but MO voters could always decide and vote to add taxes. And subsections of MO voters would have the ability to do the same for their cities / counties.

Many economists will tell you that the additional tax in StL / KC runs business off to locations with better tax structures. Dropping the Earnings / Income taxes would allow them to re-structure to be more business-friendly.

Oh, and they my have to do that horrible 'cut spending' thing too.

I urge you to vote "Yes" on Prop A

-- Posted by bebo on Fri, Oct 29, 2010, at 11:49 AM

Missourian has it wrong on Prop A. In years past Cape's city council have considered adding this tax. We need to vote yest so that we have the right to vote on it.

-- Posted by Make no mistake about it on Sat, Oct 30, 2010, at 5:47 PM

Where are these "recommendations" coming from? I have read Proposition B and it is very straight forward. If you find "the fine print of this measure overly complicated" then you're a flippin' idiot.

-- Posted by Cat'sEye on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 8:48 AM

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