by Sam Levin
Americans for Prosperity -- a conservative, small-government advocacy group that was active in the presidential election -- is in full swing in Missouri, with a new project that the state chapter says is a first of its kind.
Head to nomospending.com -- get it? -- to check out the organization's newly launched state map that shows every expected tax hike on the local ballots for April 2nd, part of a project AFP is unveiling at a Capitol press conference this morning.
"We were very surprised," Patrick Werner, state director of AFP Missouri, says.
What was so shocking?
Here's the map, which shows that there are a total of 229 tax increase proposals across the state.
"I don't think anybody's ever done this before," Werner tells Daily RFT, explaining that he's never seen a comprehensive tax ballot map in Missouri and hasn't heard of any other AFP state chapter taking on a project like this. "What we really want to do is just draw attention to this fact."
Werner says it was a fairly arduous process collecting all this information, since the group quickly discovered that most counties don't have this information readily available (and there are ten counties for which they still don't have details -- which means the 229 number could likely grow).
"The objective is...to take a comprehensive look at just how many [tax hikes] there are...when we are discussing proposals at the state level," says Werner, noting that he expected far fewer than he found.
The group, he says, is not debating the merits of individual tax hike proposals, but is interested in highlighting the big picture fiscal problem.
"We hope that local taxing entities...don't look to the taxpayer first," he says. "Have we trimmed as much as possible? Is this the only solution we have to generate more funds?"
Continue for more of our interview with Patrick Werner and for a full list of proposals from AFP.
Going forward, AFP in Missouri could potentially help individuals or local groups organize against tax hikes, Werner adds. "If you don't like it, this is what you do and this is how you would oppose it and fight it."
AFP nationally organized campaigns against Obama across the country last year -- focusing on his spending and the national debt, among other issues.
As the Beacon points out today, one of the notable measures highlighted on this map is the Arch/parks sales tax proposal in the city and county of St. Louis (in addition to fifteen proposed tax hikes, fee increases or bond issues in the county).
While it can be tough to take initiative against federal hikes, Werner says people can speak out locally and make a difference.
"That's the beauty of smaller government local taxing entities," he says. "You are gonna run into them at the grocery store and at church...and you can say, 'I'm not really particularly a fan of this measure.'"
Here's a report from AFP outlining the April ballot measures.