100 new taxes in St. Louis region, study says - KMOV.com

100 new taxes in St. Louis region, study says

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A new study says you're shelling out more money in local taxes. One hundred new taxes have been passed in the St. Louis region in just the last five years. Now, leadership around the area indicate they want to do something about it.

For many people, especially those who spoke to News 4 on Monday, the answer to government overspending could come in the form of a marriage, of sorts.            

The St. Louis Mayor and St. Louis County Executive side-by-side was a signal, perhaps, of changing attitudes. The two are both now supportive of a group called Better Together.

Mayor Lyda Krewson has long been open to the idea of taking the separate entities, the city and county, and combining or merging them.

County Executive Steve Stenger says he was once skeptical of Better Together. He now says he's willing to hear more.

“It doesn't hurt to look. We can only benefit from the information and the data the study provides,”

Monday, Better Together released a study that says in the last five years, municipalities and fire districts around the region passed 100 new tax increases.

Spending for municipal services, the study says, increased by $119 million. But, overall population decreased by 8,600 people. The study says residents are paying more money to deliver the same services to fewer people.

Many say the reason is due to how broken up the region is with overlaps in services.

“I think that coming together in some way will be good for our region, but I think we need to study how that's going to work,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson.

Krewson says a regional approach would help St. Louis better compete with cities like Louisville and Indianapolis.

Whether a merger will ever materialize remains to be seen and if so, is likely a long way off.

“It’s not something Steve Stenger will decide, the county council will decide, it's something the voters will decide at the appropriate time, if that time even comes,” Stenger said.

In the meantime, they've formed a task force to study just how to reduce overall government spending.

They hope to have recommendations sometime in 2018.

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