• City earnings tax funds services vital to business and residents

    Jan 14, 2016

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber is committed to pro-growth tax policies that enhance our region’s attractiveness and global competitiveness, facilitate domestic and foreign investment, and drive job creation.  Our urban core must have the revenue needed to provide efficient services that attract new residents and employers and ensure the safety and security of the entire community.  This is why the Regional Chamber supported the Earnings Tax Measure in 2011 and it is for this same reason that we support allowing city residents to decide at the polls if they want to continue of the tax.

    Almost one-third of the city’s general fund budget derives from the earnings tax.  Those who pay this tax and depend on the services provided clearly see the value in what they receive.  In 2011, an overwhelming 87% of residents voted to continue the 1% tax.  Without the earnings tax revenue, the city of St. Louis would be forced to make significant cuts in the critical services, including police and public safety, currently provided to the taxpayers.

    At a time when our region is working to improve equity and provide greater opportunities for our residents, we cannot deliver a crippling blow to the revenue stream that funds vital services and programs.  Only six years ago, nearly 70% of Missouri voters favored allowing Kansas City and St. Louis residents to choose this tax.  Residents in both cities should be allowed to decide for themselves if the services provided are worth the cost.

  • Statement of the St. Louis Regional Chamber Regarding the Decision of the National Football League

    Jan 13, 2016

    With its decision yesterday to allow the Rams to leave St. Louis, the National Football League ownership has let down hometown fans and cities across our country.  Despite a viable and exciting stadium proposal and the strong support of the community of Rams fans, the League has astonishingly chosen to throw away 20 years of backing and a market that ranks solidly among current NFL cities.

    The spirit and the letter of the NFL policy and procedures for franchise relocations are intended to reward fan loyalty and support and promote stable relations.  Unfortunately, St. Louis was not given a real chance to remain an NFL city — not by the owner of the Rams and not by the League.

    We are very proud and grateful to the true St. Louis team:  Led by Bob Blitz and Dave Peacock, St. Louis put together a very strong and fair proposal in a short period with backing from the business community – most notably Enterprise Holdings, Inc., and from the public sector – most notably Governor Jay Nixon, Mayor Francis Slay, President Louis Reed and the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen.  

    Their great work follows the stellar performance of the Regional Stadium Authority and the Convention and Visitors Commission. They went to extraordinary lengths to engage the Rams in negotiations for a new stadium to keep the NFL in St. Louis for decades to come. It is not their fault that they were rebuffed.  In particular, Kitty Ratcliffe, CVC President, has effectively led us through a complicated relationship with complex challenges for a long time.

    We learned a lot in this process.  We learned St. Louis can do great things. We saw what civic and business leadership, collaboration, and determination can accomplish.   Just as we came together as a region for football, we can and will come together to grow our economy in an equitable way.  That includes repurposing the money from the football stadium to improve our convention center, the Scottrade Center, and to finish the land acquisition on our riverfront, investments that will grow our economy.

    It also means keeping our attention on creating jobs around our regional strengths and focusing on the fundamentals by delivering high-quality education and job training to all residents in our region, attracting the best talent to St. Louis, and supporting our entrepreneurs and innovators.

    NFL football was worth pursuing. But, St. Louis is a great region, and with or without football we will make it even better.