Paul Berry, the Republican running against Lacy Clay for Congress, wants to both abolish the city earnings tax and hire more police. He says some things the St. Louis Aldermen are doing are “un-American”. Where most people see falling bricks and collapsed roofs, Berry sees a goldmine. He’s looking at all of the abandoned properties owned by the city, sold off tax-free in hopes of redevelopment. Berry says, charge two years of taxes up-front.
“And we need to get the aldermen out of the game of improving these properties,” Berry says. “As far as I’m concerned if you have the taxes, you have the money to build we should not have to have a single arbitrary decision made if you are determining who gets properties and who doesn’t. I just think its un-American.”
He’d phase the earnings tax out over just two years. He claims there would still be enough money to hire more police and give current officers a 25 to 30 percent bump in pay.
And instead of raising the minimum wage, Berry says put more money in the peoples’ pockets by eliminating the earnings tax. But, that leaves a gaping hole in the city’s budget.
“(The funds) would come from taking every LRA (Land Reutilization Authority) property and getting it out of the hands of the city and getting it in the hands of private investors,” Berry says. “And when they are paying two years of taxes and then once those properties are rehabbed then those properties are going to be five to six times more. The funds are there.”
He also says selling off those abandoned properties owned by the city would bring in enough money to hire more police.