“Poor” is never the rating you want. Unfortunately, that’s what St. Louis got in a recent audit of the city’s local taxing districts. The audit found that “in the areas audited, the overall performance of this entity was Poor” and the city needs to “significantly improve operations.”
Local taxing districts are political subdivisions that fund specific improvements and services through taxes and fees, so taxpayers should be concerned by this bad rating. The government is taking and distributing hard-earned taxpayer money through these districts, but is it doing so responsibly?
Here are the findings as summarized on page 2 of the audit report:
So, is St. Louis responsibly taking and distributing taxpayer money? The answer is no.
The state auditor found serious problems with the creation and implementation of local taxing districts. These districts take a lot of taxpayer money each year. According to the report, CIDs bring in approximately $10 million each year, and in the last fiscal year TDDs brought in $3.8 million. This is bad news for taxpayers; the last thing we want is the city playing fast and loose with our money.
Show-Me analysts have long been critical of special taxing districts in Missouri. There have been calls for reform of these districts in the past. While it’s great that more attention is being given to this problem, the time for reform is long overdue. When it comes to handling taxpayer dollars, the city needs to be doing a lot better than “poor.”