St. Louis payroll tax challenged in court

The St. Louis city payroll tax paid by employers is unconstitutional and should be thrown out, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Plaintiffs in the suit are General Marine Services and Thomas Joseph Neuner, an attorney and financial adviser. The suit was filed in St. Louis circuit court by attorney W. Bevis Schock of Clayton.

The suit says that the Missouri Constitution forbids cities from imposing taxes that aren’t authorized either by the constitution or state law. The suit, which challenges the 0.5 percent tax that city employers pay on their payrolls, argues that the Missouri Legislature never approved the tax and that city had no power to impose it.

The suit also challenges the city’s practice of giving payroll tax refunds to certain companies that improve their properties. Two of those companies, health insurer Anthem and the Polsinelli law firm, were also named as defendants.

Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay, said the city attorneys hadn’t yet seen the suit and were reserving comment. An Anthem spokeswoman declined comment. Polsinelli officials were not immediately available.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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