Ballot Measure Opinions

Ballot Measure Opinions
by Greg Tlapek, Rick Vandeven, Chris Morrill and Aarron Messer
as approved by the MOLP Executive Committee 10/25/2016
The 2016 ballot measures can be found on the Missouri SOS website: https://www.sos.mo.gov/petitions/2016BallotMeasures

Constitutional Amendment 1, Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax--Vote "NO"
Constitutional Amendment 2, Campaign Finance--Vote "NO"
Constitutional Amendment 3, Cigarette Tax--Vote "NO"
Constitutional Amendment 4, Prohibit new Sales Taxes on Services--Vote "YES"
Constitutional Amendment 6, Voter Photo ID--Mixed Opinions
Proposition A, Cigarette Tax--Vote "NO"


Constitutional Amendment 1, Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax--Vote "NO"
The question is whether the State of Missouri should continue to collect a 1 tenth of a cent sales tax for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to administer a soil conservation program and to provide funding for Missouri Parks, the "Parks, Soils an Water Sales Tax."

Every ten years this question is asked of the voters. If it passes it will not be asked again for ten more years, and if it fails this sales tax will go away. This tax is in addition to the 1/8th of a cent sales tax that is collected for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The tax primarily benefits agricultural land owners and people who use the park system. The sales tax is the most regressive tax there is, collected from even the poorest people who own no real estate and cannot afford to use the park system. The parks were maintained long before this tax was instituted and will continue to be maintained without it. The bureaucracy of administering the soil conservation programs through 114 separate county boards seems inefficient.

The ballot language purporting that a yes vote would not increase or decrease taxes is misleading and false. If this fails Missouri state sales tax will decrease by a tenth of a percent. A "YES" vote raises the sales tax rate from what it would be otherwise.

You can get another perspective by reading information provided on the DNR website:

Constitutional Amendment 2, Campaign Finance--Vote "NO"
There are problems with unlimited campaign contributions and the corruption that can be associated with political power influenced by these contributions. Campaign finance reform will not clean up government. The surest way to reduce influence peddling is to reduce the influence of legislators.

The fundamental problem with limiting campaign contributions is the limitation of free speech. Every individual has an unfettered natural right to the product of their labor and an inalienable right to expend that product as they wish.

Not all libertarians will agree on this issue, and there is not much information available on this topic. St. Louis Public radio did a story with a slight bias in favor of the story on October 14. http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/amendment-2-could-bring-campaign-donation-limits-back-missouri#stream/0

Constitutional Amendment 3, Cigarette Tax--Vote "NO"
The libertarian philosophy is generally opposed to taxation. There is certainly no justification for special "sin taxes". Good intentions don't necessarily equate with good public policy. This amendment doesn't respect individual rights or fund services in an equitable manner.

Constitutional Amendment 4, Prohibit new Sales Taxes on Services --Vote "YES"
The purpose of this amendment to the Missouri Constitution is to prevent sales taxes on services like getting your roof repaired. Realtors, for example, are in favor of this amendment because they are concerned that if it does not pass they may be required to charge sales tax on their fees.

Amendment 4 would forbid the state legislature and local governments from enacting sales and use taxes on any service or activity not subjected to one on January 1, 2015.
The Missouri Libertarian Party platform on taxes reads, "Taxes remove revenue by force from productive uses, allocating them less efficiently, and provide the resources for political corruption and cronyism." Amendment 4 is a reasonable protection against certain types of future taxes. As a constitutional amendment, the measure would require a vote of the people and will be more difficult to repeal.

Constitutional Amendment 6, Voter Photo ID--Mixed Opinions
Past court rulings have held that the State lacked sufficient interest to require registered voters to present a photo ID to vote. Passing this amendment reduces the likelihood of judicial challenge because it changes the Missouri Constitution allowing the legislature to pass laws "which may include requiring valid government-issued photo identification".

Such legislation has already passed. It is HB 1631. It will become fully enacted if this constitutional amendment passes. Registered voters will be required to present a government-issued photo ID each time they vote. It does allow registered voters without a government-issued photo ID to vote, if they present some other form of ID like a voter registration card or a utility bill. They must also sign a statement (under penalty of perjury) that they do not have a government-issued photo ID, and that they know they can get one for free. Such voters may also be required to allow their picture to be taken by the election authority to be kept with their voter registration record.

Ballotpedia offers unbiased information:

A "NO" vote, as argued by Chris Morrill, the Missouri Libertarian Party candidate for Secretary of State:
1. There isn't a whole lot of actual voter fraud in Missouri necessitating such a law.
2. Even if passed, the courts are probably going to intervene.

It's not as if Missouri just lets anyone register and vote right now anyway. You have to show some ID, just not necessarily a photo ID. The current law requires that you present one of the following at the polling place:
-Missouri driver's license or non-driver ID card
-U.S. passport
-A copy of your current utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck
That seems fair, without being overbearing.
If someone knows where my polling place is, shows up to that polling place on election day, has some sort of document that usually only I would have possession of, and claims to be me...chances are it's actually me.
How did people vote before photo ID, anyway? You either had some other proof of identification, or the people at the polling place KNEW YOU and could vouch for you. If that was good enough in 1816 or 1916, it's good enough for me in 2016.

A photo ID law would have done nothing to prevent any of the recent election problems and controversies in St. Louis county and St. Louis city. Those involved ballot shortages and issues with absentee ballots.
While it is true that photo ID is required for many mundane everyday activities, very few of those activities are constitutionally guaranteed rights. Voting is just such a right, and thus should be held to a more accommodating standard.
Libertarians believe in protecting all constitutional rights. Therefore we should be wary of any potential measure that seeks to unduly restrict them.

A "YES" vote, as argued by Aarron Messer, a member of the Missouri Libertarian Party Executive Committee
Amendment 6 addresses a significant problem. Currently voters do not have to show a photo ID which allows the same individual to moonlight in multiple jurisdictions and vote repeatedly as other people. All you have to do is know the address and have a piece of mail from the voter you want to pretend to be. Some have argued that this type of fraud is minimal but as we can see from the allegations during this presidential cycle the integrity of our elections is sacred and we have a duty to protect those elections from fraud. Just this year Missouri has been forced to hold do-over elections at significant cost because of voter fraud.

Those who oppose this statute argue that requiring photo ID places a cost on those without it. But HB 1631 allows for those without ID to receive a Missouri Non-Driver License at no cost for the license and with no costs to obtain the verification documents needed to issue that license. This means that voter photo ID will truly be completely without cost to those who do not already have it. Documents needed to verify age and citizenship; a Birth Certificate, Marriage License, divorce decree, adoption records, court orders, social security card, naturalization etc. will be paid for and provided to voters without photo ID by the Missouri Secretary of State.

Voters who haven't obtained photo ID after June 1st 2017 can continue to cast regular ballots if they can provide other verifying documents and affirm they truly are who they purport to be. Is this to intimidate voters? Heavens no. It is to prosecute fraud as those who would corrupt our elections will undoubtedly continue to try and do so. So why didn't they just make this law to begin with? Past court rulings have alleged that the State lacked a sufficient interest to require a photo ID. Passing this amendment protects photo ID law from judicial challenge by constitutional authorization. Amendment 6 does not disenfranchise voters, and it creates no barriers for voters. Voters ought to show a photo ID to vote and if they don't have one already they can have photo ID for free. Let's fight for the integrity of our elections lets end voter fraud at the polls. Let's vote YES on amendment 6.

Proposition A, Cigarette Tax--Vote "NO"

Another cigarette tax. Vote "NO".