Rex Sinquefield's "everything tax" is looking like nothing
The Kansas City Star
The “everything tax” initiative that was supposed to appear before Missouri voters in November may be on its way to nothing.
A Cole County judge ruled that the secretary of state’s ballot summary was flawed, and the state auditor’s fiscal note even more so.
This is the initiative promoted by multimillionaire Rex Sinquefield to get rid of the state income tax and replace it with an expanded sales tax on just about everything. It’s a wild hair of an idea that would cost ordinary Missourians dearly.
Judge Patricia Joyce’s ruling means that backers of the initiative must either win a rapid appeal or collect thousands of new signatures from registered voters before the deadline of May 6. The odds of either happening aren’t very good.
Joyce struck down Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s ballot summary on a technicality. The summary reads that the initiative would require the legislature to replace the income tax with an expanded sales tax. Noting correctly that an initiative cannot require the legislature to do anything, Joyce rewrote the summary to say that the initiative would “instruct” the legislature to make the change.
State Auditor Tom Schweich has taken a lot of heat for basically waffling on his estimate of the financial impact that Sinquefield’s initiative would have on state finances. Joyce’s ruling turns the temperature up a few notches.
The judge accuses Schweich of placing too much stock in the testimony of a non-credible and biased “expert,” of failing to inform voters of the worst-case scenario should the initiative pass, but of presenting an overly rosy best-case scenario.
Joyce’s ruling declares Schweich’s fiscal analysis and summary to be “insufficient, unfair (and) likely to deceive petition signers and voters,” and orders a rewrite.
Schweich told the Associated Press he plans to appeal.
The ballot initiative is Sinquefield’s latest attempt to impose his far-out views on the state of Missouri. When hefty campaign contributions couldn’t convince the legislature to jettison the income tax, Sinquefield tried the initiative petition route, but it looks like he’s been derailed, at least for this election cycle.
If so, that’s good news.