It Is Time For Marijuana Legalization

Growing up when & wear I did, 70s/80s Oklahoma, I bought into the government’s War on Drugs: First Lady Nancy Reagan became the public face of “Just Say No” after she made a trip to a New York ad agency in October 1983. She watched a demonstration of an anti-drug …

Sunday Poll: Who Should Be On Future $20 Bills?

The group Women on 20s is seeking to get the US Treasury to replace Andrew Jackson with a female by 2020 — the 100th anniversary of their right to vote: The group’s original list of 100 names was winnowed down to 60 through informal discussion, then to 30 via a two-part survey and …

Benefit Corporations Make A Difference and a Profit

Business is all about making money, right? Except when money isn’t the only bottom line. This will confuse some of you: not all corporations seek to maximize profits for shareholders! It’s true, Directors must make sound judgment so shareholder value isn’t negatively impacted but there’s no legal obligation to maximize …

Second Downtown Dog Park: Serra’s ‘Twain’

Between the Arch grounds and the Gateway Mall downtown has an excess of public park land — land unlikely to ever see new buildings again. Still, some want to make more park lmd nearby — a dog park where the Cupples 7 warehouse once stood. See Temporary Dog Park On …

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It Is Time For Marijuana Legalization

Poster for the 1930s propaganda film 'Reefer Madness'
Poster for the 1936 propaganda film ‘Reefer Madness’

Growing up when & wear I did, 70s/80s Oklahoma, I bought into the government’s War on Drugs:

First Lady Nancy Reagan became the public face of “Just Say No” after she made a trip to a New York ad agency in October 1983. She watched a demonstration of an anti-drug campaign from the Ad Council, the major charity of the advertising industry. Parents were told to “(g)et involved with drugs before your children do.” And school children were told that drug use and academic success don’t mix. As one print ad, with the title “School Daze,” put it: “School is tough enough without having to try to learn through a mind softened by drugs. So get the education you deserve. And learn how to say no to drugs.” According to The New York Times, Nancy Reagan approved: “Both of these themes are exactly right.” (The Atlantic)

Months before Nancy Reagan began the “Just Say No” campaign I turned 16. My mom didn’t want me to drink & drive — she’d let me drink at home, but I wasn’t interested. She told me about her trying a joint with co-workers years earlier — without any stigma. Again, I wasn’t interested. I think she knew to not to give me any reason to rebel.  I was never offered marijuana in high school, though I’ve since learned it was readily available. In college I was offered a few times, my friends gave me a hard time for refusing to partake. I didn’t care.

This coming November marks 10 years since I tried marijuana the first time, I was 38 (see There Is A First Time For Everything). That day remains the only time I’ve “smoked” marijuana.  It was nearly seven years later before I tried it a second time — by vaping — not smoking. Since then I’ve vaped a few more times, and ate way too much of a brownie in Colorado on our honeymoon last fall. What I have done is lots of reading on our national drug policy for the last 75+ years.

Here’s a timeline on the origins of our ban on marijuana, from PBS’ Frontline:

1900 – 20s Mexican immigrants introduce recreational use of marijuana leaf

After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Mexican immigrants flooded into the U.S., introducing to American culture the recreational use of marijuana. The drug became associated with the immigrants, and the fear and prejudice about the Spanish-speaking newcomers became associated with marijuana. Anti-drug campaigners warned against the encroaching “Marijuana Menace,” and terrible crimes were attributed to marijuana and the Mexicans who used it.

1930s Fear of marijuana

During the Great Depression, massive unemployment increased public resentment and fear of Mexican immigrants, escalating public and governmental concern about the problem of marijuana. This instigated a flurry of research which linked the use of marijuana with violence, crime and other socially deviant behaviors, primarily committed by “racially inferior” or underclass communities. By 1931, 29 states had outlawed marijuana. 
1930 Creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN)

Harry J. Anslinger was the first Commissioner of the FBN and remained in that post until 1962.
1932 Uniform State Narcotic Act

Concern about the rising use of marijuana and research linking its use with crime and other social problems created pressure on the federal government to take action. Rather than promoting federal legislation, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics strongly encouraged state governments to accept responsibility for control of the problem by adopting the Uniform State Narcotic Act.

1936 “Reefer Madness”

Propaganda film “Reefer Madness” was produced by the French director, Louis Gasnier.

The Motion Pictures Association of America, composed of the major Hollywood studios, banned the showing of any narcotics in films.

1937 Marijuana Tax Act

After a lurid national propaganda campaign against the “evil weed,” Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. The statute effectively criminalized marijuana, restricting possession of the drug to individuals who paid an excise tax for certain authorized medical and industrial uses.

Remember that national prohibition on alcohol took place from 1920-1933. With the 1933 repeal of the 18th Amendment the morality crusaders turned to marijuana. Here’s the trailer for the 1936 propaganda film “Reefer Madness”

The full film (1:08) is on YouTube, click here to watch.

Less than three decades later the ban began to fall apart:

In 1966 the New York County Medical Society officially classified marijuana as a mild hallucinogen, insisting that there was no credible evidence proving its use to be associated with crimes of violence in the United States. In 1967 President Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of justice questioned the entire impact of the Marijuana Tax Act: 

The Act raises an insignificant amount of revenue and exposes an insignificant number of marijuana transactions to public view, since only a handful of people are registered under the Act. It has become, in effect, solely- a criminal law, imposing sanctions upon persons who sell, acquire, or possess marijuana. . . . Marijuana is equated in law with the opiates, but the abuse characteristics of the two have almost nothing in common. The opiate produces physical dependence. Marijuana does not. A withdrawal sickness appears when use of the opiates is discontinued. No such symptoms are associated with marijuana. The desired dose of opiates tends to increase over time, but this is not true of marijuana. Both can lead to psychic dependence, but so can almost any substance that alters the state of consciousness. (Source)

In 1969 the US Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 unconstitutional, see Leary v United States. Congress and the new Nixon Administration acted quickly:

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was passed by the 91st United States Congress as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated. The Act also served as the national implementing legislation for the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

The legislation created five Schedules (classifications), with varying qualifications for a substance to be included in each. Two federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, determine which substances are added to or removed from the various schedules, though the statute passed by Congress created the initial listing, and Congress has sometimes scheduled other substances through legislation such as the Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Prevention Act of 2000, which placed gamma hydroxybutyrate in Schedule I. Classification decisions are required to be made on criteria including potential for abuse (an undefined term), currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties. (Wikipedia)

From the DEA:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: 

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote

Marijuana is viewed by the federal government to be the same as heroin, LSD, & ecstasy.  Not everyone agrees. In 2009 CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta opposed medical marijuana. Four years later he famously changed his view after working on a special report called Weed:

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis. 

Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.” 

They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.

You can see Weed below — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:

I also recommend the follow-up report Weed 2. Both look at the use of marijuana oil for treatment of epilepsy in young children. Many parents moved their families to Colorado to get low-THC/high-CBD strains like Charlotte’s Web for their children. Last year Missouri passed a bill to allow medical marijuana for these patients. In February we moved closer to making it available here:

This week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued two licenses for hemp cultivation and production. These are the first such licenses issued since lawmakers passed a bill last year, permitting patients suffering from seizures to use hemp oil for treatment.

The two recipients are non-profit organizations based in the St. Louis area: Noah’s Arc Foundation, listed with a Chesterfield address, and BeLEAF Corporation, to be located on a piece of land in St. Peters.

Hemp oil is extracted from cannabis, and the kind used for treating seizures will not have enough of the psychoactive chemical -THC – to cause a high. (KSDK)

The bill unanimously passed the Missouri Senate in May last year after a colleague made a personal plea:

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, told a hushed chamber that his son had his first infantile spasm at 11 months old and a four-hour seizure when he was 2 years old. (Post-Dispatch)

I don’t doubt that without a member of the Missouri legislature being personally affected we wouldn’t be at this point. But what about people seeking medical marijuana for:

We might have to wait until more legislators are affected by any of the above, or we may take action at the ballot box:

Americans of all political stripes say the federal government should not interfere with state-level legalization efforts: 58 percent of Democrats, 54 percent of Republicans, and 64 percent of Independents agree on this. Even 38 percent of people who oppose legalization still say that the federal government should not enforce federal pot laws in states that have legalized.

The Obama administration has generally followed this hands-off approach and given states the space to carry out their legalization experiments. But just yesterday, New Jersey Governor and potential 2016 candidate Chris Christie said that he would discontinue this practice and “crack down and not permit” legalization at the state level if he become president. (Washington Post: How marijuana legalizers are winning the battle for hearts and minds)

I think medical & recreational marijuana will be issues in the 2016 elections, at both state and national levels.

In Missouri, organizations like Show-Me Cannabis are working hard to legalize medical marijuana. They’ve put up billboards, bought radio spots, and recently brought one hundred supporters to Jefferson City to lobby legislators, many whom expressed optimism about the prospects for industrial hemp and medical cannabis this session.

One vocal cannabis advocate in St. Louis is Steve Patterson, a man the Riverfront Times calls “one of the city’s influential voices on urban planning and public policy” for his award winning blog Urban Review STL. A child of Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No” campaign, Patterson was opposed to drugs until he first tried pot at age 38. Since then he’s enjoyed vaping it, and has pondered the history of cannabis prohibition and the failed War on Drugs.

“The reasons why cannabis was made illegal in the thirties and listed as a Schedule I drug in 1970 have no basis in fact. Schedule I drugs are considered highly addictive with no medicinal value. Cannabis has always had medicinal uses” Patterson says, before pointing out that alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and deadly. “There are 2.5 million alcohol related deaths annually, but nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis.” (The Vital Voice: The Politics of Pot)

The Post-Dispatch has already endorsed legalization:

Legalizing marijuana is not some panacea. It comes with all sorts of other problems, such as potential for increased abuse, conflict with federal law and border states that have different laws, and many of the same issues that are dealt with regularly with abuse of alcohol.

But the nation is quickly changing its views on legalized marijuana, and Missouri should thrust itself to the forefront of the debate, primarily because of its location in the center of the country and its reliance on agriculture and life sciences as major economic drivers.

See Show-Me Cannabis for more information. Naturally, makers of legal drugs (pharmaceutical, tobacco, alcohol) are generally opposed to legalization of marijuana — but all three have a poor record with addiction and death.

Besides state level legalization, marijuana needs to be removed as a Schedule 1 drug — it’s past time to move beyond 1930s hysteria! It’s time to move beyond mandatory sentencing & mass incarceration.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Who Should Be On Future $20 Bills?

April 19, 2015 Featured, Sunday Poll 2 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The group Women on 20s is seeking to get the US Treasury to replace Andrew Jackson with a female by 2020 — the 100th anniversary of their right to vote:

The group’s original list of 100 names was winnowed down to 60 through informal discussion, then to 30 via a two-part survey and to 15 by a group of outsiders that included women’s history experts. The public was then able to choose their three favorites from the list of 15 candidates, which also included feminist Betty Friedan, birth control activist Margaret Sanger, women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony and conservationist Rachel Carson. (Washington Post)

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. So it seems fitting to commemorate that milestone by voting to elevate women to a place that is today reserved exclusively for the men who shaped American history. That place is on our paper money. And that new portrait can become a symbol of greater changes to come.

Let’s make the names of female “disrupters” — the ones who led the way and dared to think differently — as well-known as their male counterparts. In the process, maybe it will get a little easier to see the way to full political, social and economic equality for women. And hopefully it won’t take another century to realize the motto inscribed on our money: E pluribus unum, or “Out of many, one.” (WomenOn20s.org)

Their list is now down to four candidates:

The poll today asks who should be on future $20 bills. I’ve included the current face, Andrew Jackson, for those who don’t want to see the $20 change. Please vote in the poll in the right sidebar but also vote for one of the four finalists at WomenOn20s.org.

— Steve Patterson

Benefit Corporations Make A Difference and a Profit

Business is all about making money, right? Except when money isn’t the only bottom line. This will confuse some of you: not all corporations seek to maximize profits for shareholders! It’s true, Directors must make sound judgment so shareholder value isn’t negatively impacted but there’s no legal obligation to maximize short-term profits — but other goals aren’t considered. Some for-profit corporations, however, have goals beyond profit and shareholder value.

First we need to review some terms:

Triple Bottom Line:

The phrase “the triple bottom line” was first coined in 1994 by John Elkington, the founder of a British consultancy called SustainAbility. His argument was that companies should be preparing three different (and quite separate) bottom lines. One is the traditional measure of corporate profit—the “bottom line” of the profit and loss account. The second is the bottom line of a company’s “people account”—a measure in some shape or form of how socially responsible an organisation has been throughout its operations. The third is the bottom line of the company’s “planet” account—a measure of how environmentally responsible it has been. The triple bottom line (TBL) thus consists of three Ps: profit, people and planet. It aims to measure the financial, social and environmental performance of the corporation over a period of time. Only a company that produces a TBL is taking account of the full cost involved in doing business. (The Economist)

Benefit Corporation:

Incorporating as a benefit corporation legally protects an entrepreneur’s social goals by mandating considerations other than just profit. By giving directors the secured legal protection necessary to consider the interest of all stakeholders, rather than just the shareholders who elected them, benefit corporations can help meet the needs of those interested in having their business help solve social and environmental challenges.

Additionally, the demand for corporate accountability is at an all-time high, with many consumers already aligning their purchases with their values. The benefit corporation status is a great way to differentiate your company from the competition and capitalize on these customers. (Forbes)

St. Louis' only certified B Corp, Microgrid, installed this electric car charging station on Lucas between 6th & 7th
St. Louis’ only certified B Corp, Microgrid Energy, installed this electric car charging station on Lucas between 6th & 7th

Certified B Corporation: 

B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,000 Certified B Corps from 33 countries and over 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business. (B Lab)

 

B Lab, a nonprofit organization, certifies B Corporations, the same way TransFair certifies Fair Trade coffee or USGBC certifies LEED buildings. However, all B Corps meet a wide range of comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.

There are over 1,200 Certified B Corporations in 38 countries across 121 different industries. (MaRS Centre for Impact Investing)

This B Corp video explains:

http://youtu.be/V-VFZUFJwt4

Impact Investing:

And around the world, there are stories of how impact investments are meeting needs in areas as diverse as childhood education, clean technology, and financial services for the poor.

Last year, New York State, Social Finance and Bank of America Merrill Lynch teamed up to launch a “social impact bond” designed to cut New York City’s seemingly insoluble recidivism problem. The $13.5 million raised will extend the proven approach of the Center for Employment Opportunities. If the Center meets targets for reducing recidivism rates, investors stand to earn up to a 12.5% return.

Or take d.light – a company that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products to those without access to reliable electricity, transforming lives in the developing world.  Over eight years, d.light has reached more than 30 million people worldwide.

Recently, J.P. Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network studied 125 major fund managers, foundations, and development finance institutions and found $46 billion in sustainable investments under management.  That’s up nearly 20% from last year.

Some estimate that the impact investment market could grow to $3 trillion. And as the more socially conscious millennial generation of entrepreneurs build impact-driven businesses, you can be sure the supply of impact investment opportunities will vastly expand. (Forbes)

All sound too abstract for you? Here are some examples you might be familiar with:

  • Ben and Jerry’s — “Ben and Jerry’s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties.”
  • Cabot Creamery Cooperative — “Cabot Creamery is a 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate New York”
  • Change.org — “Platform that empowers anyone, anywhere to start, join and win campaigns for social change”
  • Etsy — “We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”
  • King Arthur Flour Company — “America’s oldest flour company and 100% employee-owned”
  • New Belgium Brewing Co, Inc. — “100% Employee owned brewer of fine Belgian inspired ales”
  • Patagonia, Inc. — “Outdoor clothing, apparel and gear for climbing, hiking, surfing, running, travel”

780 of the 1,179 B Corps are located in the US — at least one in each state! Here are some examples, including both from Missouri:

  • AE Works; Pittsburgh, PA — “AE creates social, environmental, and technical capital as a TBL design firm for the built environment”
  • The Arnold Development Group; Kansas City, MO — “Mixed use real estate development and real estate services”
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods; Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada — “Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods is the world’s largest vertically integrated hemp foods manufacturer”
  • Microgrid Energy, LLC; St. Louis, MO — “Microgrid Solar is a clean energy company committed to operating on a triple bottom line basis.”
  • The Natural Baby Company; Bozeman, MT — “The Natural Baby Company builds and sells earth-friendly baby brands including GroVia and Ovolo.”
  • Renewal Funds; Vancouver British Columbia Canada — “Social venture fund investing in environmental and social mission businesses in Canada and the USA
  • Telesis Corporation; Washington, D.C. — “Planning, financing and building urban communities that are livable, beautiful, and safe”
  • Union Kitchen; Washington, D.C. —  “Food incubator catalyzing small business growth by lowering barriers to entry for food businesses.”
  • WasteZero, Inc.; Raleigh, NC — “WasteZero works with municipalities to deliver the most effective waste reduction programs in the US.”

You can search certified B Corps here. I can think of a number of St. Louis companies that could likely become certified.

There are now more than a thousand B corps in the U.S., including Patagonia, Etsy, and Seventh Generation. And in the past four years twenty-seven states have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate themselves as “benefit corporations”—which are similar to B corps but not identical. The commitments that these companies are making aren’t just rhetorical. Whereas a regular business can abandon altruistic policies when times get tough, a benefit corporation can’t. Shareholders can sue its directors for not carrying out the company’s social mission, just as they can sue directors of traditional companies for violating their fiduciary duty. (The New Yorker)

Missouri doesn’t yet have a Benefit Corporation provision, existing corporations can still become certified. Three neighboring states, Arkansas, Illinois, & Nebraska have Benefit Corporation legislation; four neighboring states have introduced legislation: Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, & Tennessee. Kansas, like Missouri, doesn’t have benefit corporation legislation or pending bills. For more information on states click here.

If you’re committed to social/environmental change, but also want to make a profit, consider working for, or starting, a benefit corporation.The fact so many people around the world are working for more than to line their own pockets is comforting.

— Steve Patterson

Second Downtown Dog Park: Serra’s ‘Twain’

April 16, 2015 Downtown, Featured, Parks 9 Comments

Between the Arch grounds and the Gateway Mall downtown has an excess of public park land — land unlikely to ever see new buildings again. Still, some want to make more park lmd nearby — a dog park where the Cupples 7 warehouse once stood. See Temporary Dog Park On Former Cupples 7 Site Would Be Too Costly.

Meanwhile most blocks of the Gateway Mall go unloved. For a few years now I’ve been trying to build support for updating the block West of Citygarden — the block containing Richard Serra’s ‘Twain’.

ABOVE: Once you pass through one of the narrow openings the inside is spacious.
Once you pass through one of the narrow openings the inside is spacious.

Why turn a developable site into a dog & sculpture park when you can just fence in an existing sculpture? It’s already parkland, it needs more activity, it has a great location next to Citygarden. As a dog park a fence would be installed just inside new perimeter sidewalks, with at least two vestibule entry/exit points. Access would be limited to dog park members.

I still want to see a public restroom on one corner at 10th so the porta-potties at Citygarden can be retired. The restroom structure could be accessed from outside the dog park, with water for dogs on the inside.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis’ Earnings Tax

April 15, 2015 Taxes 11 Comments

In order to pay for collective services governments must tax citizens to get the money. Of course, we don’t all directly use all the services. For example, I don’t have kids yet I’ve helped fund schools. I don’t directly use this service, but I value what it does for the community I live in. So we all live here and we pool our money to buy shared services. If we were to take away a big chunk of that pooled money, by eliminating the 1% earnings tax, then we’d need to reduce services or tax ourselves some other way — or a combination of both.

The wealthiest among us seek to do locally what they’ve done nationally — reduce their tax burden. This shifts the burden to the rest of us — the lower we are on the economic scale the more we get squeezed.

Say you’re a partner in a downtown law firm who lives in West St. Louis County, with a base salary of $250,000/yr — this means you pay $2,500 to the City of St. Louis. But, if the earnings tax was replaced by higher sales and/or property taxes you’d still save money every year. You’d threaten to move the firm to Clayton unless it received huge concessions — offsetting the increased property taxes. Business lunches would cost a bit more with higher sales taxes but you could always scale back tips — besides that’s all deductible businesses expenses. Personal purchases are made in the county or online.  This individual now saves lots of money but begins to complain about potholes on the way into his office, smug in his decision to live outside the city.

I’m all for evaluating our revenue and expenses — doing so it wise — but we must be realistic about new revenues replacing old ones. Look at Kansas as an example:

In short, it’s easy to determine that by far the biggest single contributing factor to Kansas’ fiscal problems today are the income tax cuts — not bogeyman excuses cooked up by Brownback or any of his boosters. (No kidding: Facts show Brownback’s tax cuts caused Kansas’ revenue plunge)

Fantasy: cut the tax rate expecting the economy to boom as a result so total revenue would remain the same. Reality: cut tax rates make the wealthy even richer, economy stalls because less money is being circulated. Services are cut, further dampening the economy. Education & infrastructure funding are cut, making the state less and less attractive except to anti-tax types.

The results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: St. Louis’ 1% earnings tax… (PICK UP TO TWO)

  1. revenue is too critical to eliminate 18 [34.62%]
  2. should be left unchanged 11 [21.15%]
  3. should be matched by an earnings tax in surrounding counties 8 [15.38%]
  4. should be replaced by another tax 7 [13.46%]
  5. should be reduced incrementally over the next 10-25 years 4 [7.69%]
  6. should be eliminated at once 3 [5.77%]
  7. should be increased 1 [1.92%]
  8. should be reduced, but not eliminated 0 [0%]
  9. unsure/no opinion 0 [0%]

Of course, one municipality in a highly-balkanized region is different than a state.  Still, the idea of slashing taxes to create a wave a new revenue from newfound influx of people and jobs is unfounded — especially with obligatory cuts in services.

Instead of eliminating St. Louis’ earnings tax we need to add an earnings tax to other counties in the region — though perhaps not 1%.  This would even up the playing field — reducing moves from one political jurisdiction to another. Use the revenue to make the entire region attractive to outsiders so we get real growth.

— Steve Patterson

SUNDAY POLL (8AM-8PM SUNDAYS)


The Sunday Poll isn't scientific, but a way to see what readers think on different topics.

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