Ballot Measure Positions

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2016 Results

Following are Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice’s position on the measures on the November 8 ballot.  These positions were recommended by the Women’s Voices Advocacy Committee and approved by a vote of the membership.

 

ENDORSE

-Constitutional Amendment 1: Continues for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites.  PASSED

Amendment 1 will continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites. This will be resubmitted to the voters for approval in 10 years (2026) If passed, this measure will not increase the current tax rate.  The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.

ENDORSE

-Constitutional Amendment 2: Amends the Missouri Constitution to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office.  Click here for Bill Moyers take on how opposition will fight this amendment if it passes. PASSED

Amendment 2 will amend the Missouri Constitution to establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office. It would prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions.  It would also require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions.  It further provides a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment.  If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.  While this is not the comprehensive election reform needed in the state of Missouri, Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice believes it is a start.

ENDORSE

-Proposition S:  A property tax increase in St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County to operate and support a Senior Services Fund.  FAILED

In Missouri, there is legislative language more than 20 years old that allows for property taxes to be raised in order to fund senior services. Seniors Count is attempting to make this tax a reality in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, which currently do not have a tax levy supporting senior services. Of the 115 counties in the state of Missouri, 51 have passed this initiative.

Proposition S would help address the needs of older adults and their ability to live independently as they age (aging in place) rather than a nursing home. Aging in place has been shown to improve quality and length of life. The proposition has the support of many senior services organizations including the Mid-east and St. Louis Area Agencies on Aging.

FAQs about Proposition S

*Each county, St Louis and St. Charles, and the City of St. Louis must approve of Proposition S independently, and operate its Senior Services Fund independently as well.

*The property tax (real and personal) of five cents per $100 assessed valuation would amount to an additional $9.50 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home A taxpayer with an automobile valued at $10,000 would pay $1.67 annually in personal property tax.

*Monies would go into a Senior Services Fund. An independent board in each of the 3 jurisdictions would be appointed to oversee distribution of the tax money generated.

*Non-profits and other community groups could then apply for grants from the Senior Services Fund in order to provide programs and services for people over 60. Programs include those focusing on transportation, medical and nutritional needs, home safety & maintenance, respite care, behavioral health, dental/vision health, homemaker services and other services not covered by Medicare.

*If Proposition S passes in November 2016, services could begin in early 2018. No funds shall be spent until the board of directors of the Senior Service Fund has been appointed and taken office.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 3:   Amends the Missouri Constitution to increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20.  FAILED

Amendment 3, also known as “Raise Your Hand for Kids”, increases taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20.  This amendment also creates a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes. Missouri’s enactment of the Tobacco Settlement resulted in a playing field that is not level between “big” tobacco (such as R.J. Reynolds that supports Amendment 3) and smaller wholesale tobacco companies. This amendment further provides that the funds generated by these taxes and fees shall be deposited into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund.

Some groups have spoken out against this amendment for language they believe may limit or destabilize future funding for stem cell research or restrict access to abortions..  Some education groups have also criticized the amendment stating it would allow for state money to go to private and parochial schools.  Organizations publicly opposing this amendment include Missouri Cures, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Missouri, Missouri Association of Rural Education, Missouri National Education Association, Missouri Retired Teachers Association, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Groups that support Amendment 3 offer research that shows investing in early childhood education is key to children’s success in school and later life. Groups that publicly support Amendment 3 include The Deaconess Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City, Children’s Mercy Hospital, the Missouri State NAACP, Metropolitan Congregations United Education Task Force, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Parents as Teachers, Child Care Aware of Missouri, and the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice acknowledges that there are valid arguments pro and con. However we believe that the arguments against the amendment outweigh its potential good.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 4: Amends the Missouri Constitution to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction.  PASSED

Amendment 4 will amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction.  It applies only to services or transactions that were not subject to a sales/use tax as of January 1, 2015. Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant.  The proposal’s passage would impact a state/local governmental entity’s ability to revise its tax structures.  State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.

OPPOSE

-Constitutional Amendment 6: Amends the Missouri Constitution to state that voters may be required by law to verify their identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification.  PASSED

Amendment 6 will amend the Missouri Constitution to require a valid government-issued photo ID in order to cast a vote, weakening the voting protections in the Missouri Constitution. The proposed amendment itself will result in no costs or savings. However, if the amendment is approved by voters, there will be costs. This is because a bill passed by the legislature in 2016 to enable enactment of voter photo ID will result in costs to state and local governments that could exceed $2.1 million annually.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice opposes this amendment because it weakens voting rights in the state constitution, opens the door to costly unfunded mandates to enforce it, and will likely disenfranchise vulnerable populations.  Currently, more than 220,000 Missouri voters lack a valid, government-issued photo ID.  These laws primarily impact low-income residents, the elderly, young people and communities of color. It will also make it more difficult for out of state college students to vote in Missouri.

OPPOSE

-Proposition A:

Amends Missouri law to increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20. FAILED

Proposition A, proposed by Initiative Petition, will amend Missouri law to increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20.  It also increases the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price and further provides that the funds generated by these taxes shall be used exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects.

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice believes this proposed increase is insufficient and we need an immediate increase, not an extremely small increase over a 5-year period.

 

Missouri Ballot Measures:  November 2014

Women’s Voices opposed the three ballot measures below:

Teacher Evaluation: Failed

Amendment 3 would amend the Missouri constitution to: require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding; require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system; require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system.
Reasons to oppose:
The Missouri-National Education Association states that the amendment will: take local control of our schools away from parents, teachers and school districts; force taxpayers to pay for even more costly government-mandated standardized tests even though school funding is already a problem; force teachers to teach to a test rather than focusing on actual instruction and learning.

Early Voting:  Failed

Amendment 6 would amend the Missouri constitution to permit voters, in years when the legislature provides funding, an early voting period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before election day to cast a ballot in all general elections.

Reasons to oppose:

This amendment does more to restrict early voting than it does to extend it.This amendment does not allow early voting on Saturday or Sunday. Early voting is limited to General Elections only (would not be in effect for local, special district or municipal elections); the legislature may restrict early voting by simply refusing to fund it; early voting is limited to regular business hours at the office of the local election authority. The amendment also includes a clause stating that this new section of the constitution cannot be changed or repealed by another amendment. This restriction alone is reason enough to oppose the amendment.

Budget Withholds:  Passed

Amendment 10 would amend the Missouri constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
Reasons to oppose:
Critics of the amendment say that it would swing the balance of power too far back toward the legislature, because a governor is required to balance the state’s budget, a responsibility the legislature does not share.

Missouri Ballot Measures: November 2012

Tobacco Tax Increase: Failed

Women’s Voices supported Proposition B to increase the tax on cigarettes and tobacco-related products.  Prop B was defeated. It was the third attempt in 11 years to increase state taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Missouri’s cigarette tax of 17 cents per pack remains the lowest in the country.   Women’s Voices also supported Amendment 3 on the November 2006 ballot which would have raised cigarette and tobacco taxes.

Non-Partisan Court Plan: Failed

Women’s Voices opposed Constitutional Amendment 3 which would have changed the way appellate court judges are selected and would have given more power to the governor to select judges. If approved, the amendment would have had the potential to politicize the judicial selection process. Voters  rejected Amendment 3  and the Missouri non-partisan court plan continues to serve as a model for a number of other states.

Health Care Exchanges: Passed

The passage of Proposition E means that the governor or other officials do not have the power to set up healthcare exchanges without the legislature’s and the voters’, input. The Affordable Care Act set a 2014 deadline for all states to establish insurance exchanges, either with or without the help of the federal government.  (In August 2010, Missouri voters passed Proposition C  which aimed to block the federal government from requiring people to buy health insurance; this was the “individual mandate” under the Affordable Care Act.  The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in its June 2012 ruling.