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St. Louis Collector Of Revenue Makes Case For Keeping Earnings Tax

St. Louis Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly, seen here in this 2017 photo, is a top surrogate to keep the city's earnings tax.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly, shown in 2017, said the city would need another source of revenue to replace the earnings tax if it isn't renewed.

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Collector of Revenue Gregory F.X. Daly talks with St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann, Corrine Ruff and Jason Rosenbaum about the campaign to preserve the city’s earnings tax.

Daly, who was first elected collector of revenue in 2006, has provided $50,000 from his campaign bank account to help keep the earnings tax. Every five years, St. Louis voters have to decide on whether to renew the 1% tax on income for people who either live or work in the city.

Here’s what Daly talked about on the show:

  • How the earnings tax constitutes nearly a third of the city’s budget and goes toward a host of important services. He added that if it were to gradually go away, as it would if Proposition E doesn’t end up passing on April 6, the city would have to find another revenue source to replace the lost income.
  • Why it’s important for people who work in St. Louis, but don’t live there, to keep paying the earnings tax. The statewide initiative requiring a vote to retain the earnings tax every five years does not require residents of surrounding counties to weigh in on the matter.
  • Legislation that would allow people who live outside the city to ask for earnings tax refunds if they’ve been primarily working from home during the pandemic. Daly said state Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill would likely cost the city millions of dollars if it were enacted.
  • Whether the campaign to retain the earnings tax will be complicated by the mayoral general election happening at the same time. This is the first instance since 2009 in which the April general election is more decisive in the mayor’s race than the March primary.

Daly is a southwest St. Louis native who has spent more than 40 years in St. Louis City Hall. He worked for a number of Board of Aldermen presidents over the years, including Tom Zych, Tom Villa and Francis Slay. (Villa said in a 2016episode of Politically Speaking that Daly was one of his students when he worked as a teacher.)

Daly became license collector in 1998 after then-Gov. Mel Carnahan appointed him to the post. He won election to the collector of revenue’s office in 2006 and has been reelected ever since with minimal opposition.

Because he’s rarely faced any credible challengers over the years, Daly has one of the most well-funded campaign committees in city politics — with more than $500,000 on hand as of January. He considered running for mayor in 2017 and 2021 but decided against it.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Corinne Ruff on Twitter: @corinnesusan

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Gregory F.X. Daly on Twitter: @gregoryfxdaly

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.
Corinne is the economic development reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.