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Voters Defeat St. Louis County Parks Tax

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Shoppers in St. Louis County will not have to pay an extra eighth of a cent for every dollar they spend at the cash register.

By fewer than 700 votes Tuesday, county voters defeated proposition P.

Its supporters say the measure would have raised more than $16 million for county parks.

But opponent Fred Lindecke says voters realized where the county's money went.

"We said from the beginning that it was really the Cardinals stadium tax increase," Lindecke said. "Because the county council was using this tax increase to replace parks money that could have been used, but instead they gave it away to the Cardinals."

Supporters of the tax say the county's $45 million dollar loan to the Cardinals came from a different part of the budget.

St. Louis County Councilman Skip Mange says the tax would have provided a permanent fund for park operations.

"Well obviously we're going to have to look really hard at priorities and set some priorities on what our needs are going to be in 2005," Mange said. "We knew that going in, and that's one of the reasons we went to the voters for this."

Mange blames part of the defeat on a lack of an exemption from food in the tax.