Proposition B is working to fund the transfer of public safety staff to LAGERS and improve the funding status of the closed Police and Fire Retirement Plan. It will sunset in 12 years or at 120% funding. The most recent independent actuarial evaluation shows that the plan is ahead of the 12-year plan. The tax money is not being used for other purposes.
Proposition B was never designed to be the solution to all of our current public safety needs. The funds freed up were not pledged to anything specific. Public safety did receive a 9% salary increase. A statewide minimum wage increase, COVID, and rising competitive wages led to pay increases for all departments. All the funds freed up ($1.7 million) would not have solved our problems today (need $9 million).
What about the Public Safety Sales Tax we already have?
The half-cent Public Safety Sales Tax was designed in 2005 to fund additional police and firefighters (already hired), a new 100-foot ladder truck, personnel, and fire trucks for Fire Stations #6 (built in 2012) and #7 (to be completed in 2022), as well as the Public Safety Training Center (built in 2015) and street lights for strategic locations. Once the projects are all completed, the fund will continue to provide maintenance, operations, and replacements when needed. It cannot be increased and used for other projects. Public safety is expensive, and the needs have outpaced our current revenue.
Why don’t we use a sales tax?
Joplin’s sales tax is already one of the highest in the region and sales taxes are not a reliable and stable revenue source for public safety. Sales tax growth has been flat and there has been no significant increase to fund the $9 million needed.
Why do we need a property tax?
All of the cities and counties we are competing with for quality public safety personnel are using sales and property tax to recruit and hire police and firefighters. Joplin cannot offer higher competitive salaries and benefits to recruit and retain police and firefighters.
What does it cost the taxpayer?
Costs will be based on the assessed value, not the market value. Residents will pay $1 per $100 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $150,000, it would be $285 annually; for a $30,000 vehicle, it would be $100 annually for a total of $385 annually or $32.08 a month.
What about those with a low, fixed income?
The Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim gives credit to certain senior citizens and 100 percent disabled individuals for a portion of the real estate taxes or rent they have paid for the year.
Why can’t the Use Tax fund these projects?
The Use Tax is used at the same rates as regular sales tax for public safety, a half-cent. It is estimated to bring in $592,000 annually. These funds will be used for police and fire expenses.
What happens if this doesn’t pass?
We believe the community will see an increase in our experienced police and firefighters leaving for higher-paying jobs with no way to fill the positions they leave. Crime will increase and, it will take more time to get help to those in need. We are already operating at dangerously low staffing because we cannot recruit and retain with our current salaries and workloads.
Information provided by Fraternal Order of Police and Local 59. This is not a paid advertisement. It is provided as information only.
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