About 60 percent of voters favored increasing the sales tax. The money will be used in part to hire more police officers. Mayor Lyda Krewson says it will allow significant investments in crime prevention measures.
St. Louis police officers and firefighters will soon see a boost in their paychecks, thanks to a half-cent sales tax increase voters approved on Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. It needed a simple majority to pass, and won easily with roughly 60 percent of the vote. Mayor Lyda Krewson said passing the measure she spent months advocating will allow the city to take a step “toward making a safer St. Louis a reality.”
With the passage of Prop P, the sales tax rate in most areas of the city will jump from 9.2 to 9.7 percent on April 1. The increase is projected to bring in roughly $20 million annually, most of which will be spent to hire more police officers and pay them more. Krewson wants to use the $4 million brought in by a corresponding business use tax increase on crime prevention initiatives. “I recognize that we can’t arrest our way to a safer city, and I’m thrilled that voters agree,” Krewson said. “Passing Prop P means we can make significant investments on the prevention side, with funding for after-school and summer job programs, recreation, social and mental health services and also demolishing vacant buildings.” Opponents had hoped to use the momentum of those protesting the acquittal of former city police officer Jason Stockley to lobby for its defeat through demonstrations, phone banks and an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort.