St. Louis has Missouri’s top big city tax burden in Show-Me Institute report

(The Center Square) – Missourians living in the state’s largest 20 cities can discover their local tax burdens per citizen in a new report by the Show-Me Institute.

The tax revenue per citizen ranges from $2,141.87 in St. Louis to $335.35 in Wildwood, a suburb of St. Louis.

“Tax Burden in Missouri’s 20 Largest Cities” shows a drastic variation in taxes that cities collect and the services they provide. Corianna Baier, author of the report and senior analyst at the Show-Me Institute, said tax data and information on a city’s revenue and expenses are useful in comparing tax burdens and expenditures of city governments.

“These are all publicly available documents, but you have to know what they’re called, which websites to look for them and then decode the documents,” Baier said in an interview with The Center Square. “They’re publicly available, but not really publicly comprehensible.”

The high rates per citizen were expected in the state’s largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, Baier said. A 1% earnings tax in both cities provides the governments with significant revenue compared to other taxes collected. Kansas City collects $564 million, 29% of its general revenue, from income and payroll taxes. St. Louis collects $778 million, 35% of its general revenue.

Baier was somewhat surprised to see the tax burdens of those living in two smaller cities – Cape Girardeau ($1,055.66) and Joplin ($1,001.15).

“Cape Girardeau does provide a decent amount of services for its citizens,” Baier said. “The services provided does make more sense if a city has higher tax revenues. It’s the cities that don’t provide as many services but still have a relatively high tax revenue per citizen that makes you think about where all the money is going.”

Baier said the report could help people looking to relocate to one of Missouri’s 20 largest cities. The report also helps citizens be knowledgeable of municipal government spending and prompt engagement.

“If you’re budgeting for yourself and your family, you need to keep these things in mind because you might end up paying more in taxes or for your grocery bill,” Baier said. “There are ways to go about changing things, like voting or talking to lawmakers. It’s important people should know where their money is going and how fiscally sound their city is.”

Below is the report’s list of cities ranked by tax revenue per citizen:

City Population Tax Revenue Per Citizen
St. Louis 301,578  $2,141.87
Kansas City 508,090 $1,492.48
Cape Girardeau 39,540 $1,055.66
Springfield 169,176 $1,003.72
Joplin 51,762 $1,001.15
Lee’s Summit 101,108 $1,000.61
St. Joseph 72,473 $979.56
Wentzville 44,372 $887.99
St. Peters 57,732 $884.17
Jefferson City 43,228 $855.86
St. Charles 70,493 $841.82
Blue Springs 58,603 $694.73
Independence 123,011 $684.47
University City 35,065 $662.25
O’Fallon 91,316 $557.42
Columbia 126,254 $548.39
Chesterfield 49,999 $546.78
Florissant 52,533 $460.88
Ballwin 31,103 $456.15
Wildwood 35,417 $335.35

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