Challenge the assumption
I would like to address your editorial in support of the sales tax proposal in the Aug. 16 edition of the newspaper. I challenge your assumption that approval of sales tax increase would ensure economic growth. The sales tax is the most regressive of all taxes and hurts the lower income people more than anyone. Sikeston is already one of the highest in the area for sales tax including Cape and Poplar Bluff. This would make us even higher. According to all evidence, a tax increase of any kind hinders economic growth of a community, not increases it. If you have facts that show differently, then I would like to see them. Would you please publish the salaries of police officers in other communities like Cape, Poplar Bluff, Perryville and elsewhere instead of just making a blanket statement? I think you are wrong on this issue and I don't think Sikeston is that much lower paying than other communities of equal size and equal prime rate. We approved sales tax to fund public safety, but due to economic growth, it has not kept pace. Guess what? Due to the same economic growth, the family income has not kept pace either. Instead of increasing, it's actually decreased in most cases, so the family cannot afford to give the city government more money. We also approved an extension of the transportation tax just a short time back. And I think the same argument and assumptions would apply to the Public Safety Department, Mike. As for our Parks Department, most of this is due to poor management, not lack of money. I submit to you that higher taxes result in lower growth, not more growth. Just look at the states with higher tax rates, New York, California, Illinois, for example. Those states are losing revenue, losing residents and in debt, while states like Arkansas and Texas that have a lower take rate are growing.
Thank you first for your interest in the upcoming sales tax proposal in Sikeston. Let me challenge some of your assumptions. Though a sales tax may be regressive, keep in mind that the majority of that tax will be paid by shoppers from outside of Sikeston. On the issue of Sikeston sales tax compared with others. Let's get the facts straight. Here are the facts. Sikeston's sales tax ranges from 8.225 in the Scott county portion of our community to 8.725 in the New Madrid portion. Poplar Bluff - like Sikeston - has two taxing increments. Poplar Bluff sales tax ranges from 7.725 to 8.725. Cape Girardeau has two tax increments ranging from 7.975 to 8.975. On the issue of Public Safety salaries, here are the facts. Because of erosion of our Public Safety personnel, the city council recently dipped into reserves to increase the starting pay here by $3,000. And even with that temporary increase, the starting salary for a Public Safety officer in Sikeston is $33,068. The starting salary in Perryville is $35,167; Poplar Bluff is $36,960 and Cape Girardeau is $37,349. I hope this answers some of your questions and additional information will be provided in the weeks ahead.
I would like to speakout. I have a daughter that has cancer. I've been in a church for about 30 years. Nobody ever calls to check on my daughter. None of them come around to visit my daughter. It feels like my spirituality has drowned. I thought Christian people were supposed to be out here visiting and praying for the sick. This doesn't happen. Don't forget the sick people that aren't able to go to church. Please pray for my daughter.