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Missouri Supreme Court upholds earnings tax approval law

The Supreme Court of Missouri [official website] on Tuesday ruled [decision, PDF] that revision to Missouri tax law [text] does not violate the Missouri Constitution [text]. The law was approved by Missouri voters through referendum in 2010 and requires the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City to regularly seek voter approval of municipal earnings taxes through elections. The law was challenged by two city officials who argued that the law illegally required the city to conduct elections without paying for them. In his decision Judge George Draper concluded that the city is not technically required to hold elections, in that they are only required to do so if they wish to continue to levy earnings taxes. Elections are now required in the two cities every four years to maintain the tax. Voters from the cities in 2011 voted overwhelmingly not to increase taxes.

Citizens in the US have been increasingly relying on referenda to pass desired legislation. Last month, citizens in Washington and Maryland [JURIST reports] received enough votes to challenge newly passed same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] legislation. Each state's ballot will contain a section asking voters to accept or reject the new legislation. Similarly, a group supporting same-sex marriage in Maine achieved enough signatures [JURIST report] in February to have the question of same-sex marriage appear on its ballot. Earlier that month, New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation [JURIST report] that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state, and called for a state-wide referendum on the issue. In December, Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno (R) signed legislation establishing a two-part referendum that will allow Puerto Ricans to voice their opinions regarding Puerto Rico's political status and connection to the US [JURIST report] in November 2012.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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