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Firefighters Call on Southwest Missouri Voters

Springfield firefighters met today to warn the community about how signing a petition to kill the earnings tax might save you a few bucks, but cost you your safety in the long run. KSMU’s Chasity Mayes reports.

Bright yellow signs with the phrase “decline to sign” were popular as community supporters and firefighters held a press conference at The Library Center in Springfield.

Those signs are targeting local voters by asking them not to sign petitions that would put the issue on the November ballot. Voters would decide at that time whether or not they want to repeal the tax.

Springfield doesn’t currently have the tax, but petitioners are gathering signatures here anyway. Officials say larger cities like St. Louis and Kansas City who put the tax toward public safety would see massive cuts.

“Immediately, it’s going to appear to be isolated. The ripple effect will be [that] crime will increase in those communities,” said Shawn Martin, the president of Springfield Firefighters Local 152.

He says that although the tax repeal would primarily affect larger cities in the state, eventually the entire state would be affected by a rise in crime and a decrease in safety officials.

“By doing away with that earnings tax it’s going to affect public safety. That will invite crime, it will also invite an unsafe atmosphere and that unsafe atmosphere will be contagious throughout the sate,” says Martin.

Those representing the firefighters at the press conference said it’s important to realize that petitioners are getting paid for signatures and that often they aren’t even from the same state that they are petitioning in.

Firefighters, police officers, and school districts are just a few of the things that the tax helps to fund in St. Louis and Kansas City.

For KSMU News, I’m Chasity Mayes.