Church and State

Search this site:

The Commonspace

Jan 2001 / church and state 1 - 2 :: email this story to a friend

Elephant Stampede
By Mike Chance and Francis Wildhaber

Issues and Positions that Mr. Wildhaber Plans to Address in this Campaign

  1. An incremental plan to eliminate the St. Louis City individual earnings/income tax. This plan would first eliminate the city earnings tax for the lower income levels and progressively eliminate the tax at all income levels. The included exemption amount would be raised each year.

  2. Fostering business development through a combination of a.) Land grants for winning business plans and b.) Property tax abatements and stepped business earnings tax for startups and expansions.

  3. Greater school choice for parents of elementary and secondary school children. Proposals being entertained to this end are: i.) The abatement of property tax for parents of school age children while attending private or parochial schools or ii.) Tuition voucher programs. The city school system will save the approximate $9,000 in annual spending per public school student for each child whose family chooses a private or parochial school. The associated loss in property tax revenue, in the first plan for example, will be relatively small since the abatement would apply only to parents of school age children and only for their primary residence. This would not impact the various state and federal sources of public school funding. It would benefit the public school system by a net increase in available funds per student as well as increasing the teacher-to-student ratio. Additionally, the presence of nearby private and parochial schools increases the neighborhood property values. Since the public school system derives a substantial portion of its budget from property tax it is likely that a net gain in public funding would result.

  4. Improving the accountability of property conditions.

  5. Expanding public, urban natural areas and increasing the percentage of green space for residential development. Of special interest is the restoration of Mississippi River front natural areas and natural stream restoration.

  6. Health insurance discounts for the working poor near or below the poverty level. The health insurance plan would allow workers to make affordable, weekly payroll deductions to pay the employee's portion of a low-cost health insurance plan. Dependents could be added to their parents' plan at an additional, but discounted rate. The remaining plan costs would be provided through government monies. The plan would make use of existing, competitive health care and insurance providers. Suitable sources of funding might include an employer match or additional sales tax on alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets. The concept is to model the way in which middle and upper income families and their employers provide health insurance for families and to tap into the competitive costs of a free market health industry.

  7. Favors Section 8 Housing reform. Uniform drug testing of adult applicants. Enforce clear property maintenance standards.

  8. Prosecuting drug users as well as drug dealers. The overall crime rate has risen in the city in spite of the economic boom. Drug use by adult arrestees stood at 71.7% for males and 69.3% for females. The clear link between criminal behavior and drug use warrants increased emphasis on drug enforcement. The most effective strategies target the demand-side equally with that of the sellers and suppliers. In other words we need to place increased emphasis on prosecuting drug users—they pay the salaries of drug dealers.

  9. Mr. Wildhaber does not favor the use of city tax money for the building of the proposed Cardinals' baseball stadium. The city should be able to strike a deal with the Cardinals through equitable tax abatements (that is, similar to that offered other businesses). The city may act to negotiate corporate sponsorship or voluntary citizen sponsorship to assist the Cardinals with their expansion goals. Spending of tax money for a sports stadium could be better used, for example, toward providing discounted health insurance for the working poor.

  10. Fair use of federal and state funds that benefit the entire City—North and South St. Louis.

Francis J. Wildhaber is a lifelong resident of St. Louis City and the youngest son of Floyd and Verna Wildhaber. His parents provided for their large family with hard work and a Union salary. Francis and his wife Caroline reside in the Dutchtown South neighborhood and are the proud parents of two children. The youngest son is 4 months old; the elder daughter is 2 years.

Mr. Wildhaber has served in a number of professional positions including that of Mechanical Engineer, Internet Software Developer, and Database Administrator. He has worked various jobs, including that of a Union painter, to fund his education. Mr. Wildhaber earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from St. Louis University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

« [What is Chance's position?]

Church and State | Games | Expatriates | Communities | From the Source
It's All Happening | Young Minds | The Ordinary Eye | Elsewhere
Sights and Sounds | Media Shoegaze | A Day's Work | From the Editor

© 2001 The Commonspace