In a recent meeting with the Post-Dispatch, County Executive Charlie Dooley continued to press for increased property taxes. According to Dooley, “St. Louis County is in a crisis.” Hew wants to increase salaries for the 3,700 county employees that have been frozen for three years. He went on to say that the rest of the money generated by the tax increase would cover increases in employees’ health insurance premiums and retirement fund. The balance would cover miscellaneous “cost increases,” he said.
Dooley did not mention why employees could not pay more for their health care benefits or why pensions (retirement benefits) needed to be increased at all. Further no mention was made of other budgetary items that could be cut.
With Dooley at the meeting were his senior policy advisor, Mike Jones and the county’s chief operating officer, Garry Earls. Also, no mention is made as to why these two are still employed by the county if it is such bad shape.
County Council Chairman, Steve Stenger noted: “Why is it that today is the first time I have heard that we are in a budget crisis? I think it is manufactured.”