By the facts: Missouri ballot initiatives

Taxes and puppies may not bring the same expression to most faces. But next Tuesday, citizens of St. Louis County—including Washington University students who are registered to vote in Missouri—will cast their ballots on both.

Proposition A

The issue
If Proposition A passes, the residents of Kansas City and St. Louis will vote on whether to continue a 1 percent earnings tax in these two cities. Proposition A will not affect the tax itself, only the decision whether to vote to continue the tax or not.

• If those voting “no” win, the status quo will be maintained.

• If those voting “yes” win, the next phase will go into effect: St. Louis and Kansas City voters will vote again in the spring whether to continue or eliminate the tax.  If voters vote to keep the tax, residents will continue to vote on the same issue every five years.  If the voters vote to eliminate the tax, it will be phased out and cities in Missouri will not be allowed to reinstate it.

What’s at stake
$140 million in annual revenue for St. Louis (about one-third of its total). $200 million in annual revenue for Kansas City (about 40 percent of its total).

How it affects the University
Currently, non-profit organizations are not subject to this earnings tax. If the tax is eliminated, the city might try to make up this revenue by looking to institutions such as Washington University to make contributions.

What do students think?
“The first time I heard about it was online—online news reports,” junior Michelle Chen said. “A lot of times when it gets a little closer, I start researching.”

“I only know about it from the ads on Hulu,” senior Kat Berger said.

Proposition B

The issue
Proposition B, known as the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act,” would regulate puppy mills all over the state. The measure was proposed by Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, and more than $3.5 million have been raised from various agencies.

• If those voting “no” win, the status quo will be maintained.

• If those voting “yes” win, breeders will be required to give their dogs food, water, veterinary care, sufficient exercise space and protection from the elements. Each breeder will be limited to 50 dogs; they will be required to keep the temperature between 48 and 85 degrees, and they may not stack wire cages.

What’s at stake
Some argue that laws will hurt dog breeders’ business and that the economy will be affected. Other opponents think it will place too much government control on the puppy mills.

What do students think?
“I think looking at the issue on a purely economic basis is immoral and cannot be the basis of any sensible ballot casting,” senior Peter Murrey said. “The morality of certain actions, such as puppy mills, must be taken into account, and to not do that is callous.”

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