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Behind the Headlines — Prop P result came down to turnout and money

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

The outcome of Tuesday’s election to raise the city’s sales tax by a half-cent came down to turnout and money. 

“You have to look at the money what was spent if you want to say okay, well, how could we have gotten our message out further, how could we have let people know that this isn’t the only mechanism.” said Alderman Dan Guenther, D-9th Ward.

Guenther’s ward was one of only four that voted against Proposition P. It passed in parts of the city with majority white and majority black populations. 

The money the increase will generate will give police and firefighters a $6,000 raise in next year’s budget. Supporters spent more than $360,000, mostly on radio and television ads. 

Additional resources may have gotten a few more wards to vote no, Guenther said, but it probably would not have changed the results of the election. 

Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, opposed putting Proposition P on the ballot. She chose not to actively campaign against it, but believes she could have flipped her ward if she had.

“But you need more than just my ward. We need systematic education so the voters know what the issues are, and that they’re not scared with this thing of, ‘oh, you’re not going to have any police.’ That scares people,” she said.

Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum, from the St. Louis Public Radio newsroom, joined the program to analyze the Prop P results.


St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.