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ShowMe Better Courts & Realtors Fall Short

Update: "Vote Yes To Stop Double Taxation" says they will sue to contest the signature county by local election authorities and the SOS. Their release is below the break.

Initiative petitions from the ShowMe Better Courts and the Vote Yes To Stop Double Taxation committees will not be on the fall ballot because they failed to collect enough valid signatures, the Secretary of State's office announced this afternoon.

I suspect this won't be the last we hear about the failed campaigns of  James Harris and David Barklage.  Harris was paid more than $44,000 by ShowMe Better Courts to run their campaign, and Barklage's Strategic Communications Group collected more than $200,000 from the Realtors-backed "Vote Yes To Stop Double Taxation" committee.

The release from the Realtors' campaign committee:

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sponsors Committed to Giving Missourians Opportunity to Vote “YES” to Stop Double Taxation: Lawsuit Will Be Filed to Bring Amendment to Nov. 2 Ballot


Media Contact: Attorney Chuck Hatfield
Office: 573-636-6827

(Jefferson City, Mo.) – Sponsors of a proposed state constitutional amendment to protect Missourians from double taxation on real estate are committed to giving citizens a vote, and will file a lawsuit to get the proposal on the November 2 General Election ballot.

The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office announced its conclusion that the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation amendment did not receive enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot. However, the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee believes there were adequate signatures on thousands of petitions submitted in May from across six of the state’s nine congressional districts. Our campaign’s own analysis shows validation rates around 80 percent in some congressional districts, and in some counties better than 90 percent.

The Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee has already launched its own recount of signatures to double-check the reviews of scores of local election authorities. Additionally, the committee is filing a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court, asking that the petition signatures be declared sufficient.  The lawsuit will ask the court to review the signature count conducted by local election authorities and the Secretary of State.

The suit will also ask the court to count signatures rejected by the Secretary of State due to petition circulators not being registered with the state. Missouri law allows the court to place the measure on the November ballot if the court determines enough signatures were obtained.

“With the large volume of thousands of signatures of supportive voters and the deadline pressure scores of local election authorities faced to check the signatures, there will inevitably be mistakes, and we believe mistakes happened,” said Chuck Hatfield, attorney for the Vote “YES” To Stop Double Taxation Committee. Hatfield added that in past initiative petition campaigns, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed voter signatures that had not been properly counted and subsequently ordered measures onto the statewide ballot, allowing voters to have their say. 

“We owe it to the tens of thousands of Missouri voters who signed the petitions and worked hard on the issue’s behalf to go out and review the signatures and correct the mistakes,” Hatfield said. “We are committed to putting this important question before voters, so they have a chance to protect themselves from double taxation.”

Transfer taxes on home sales are double taxation because Missourians already pay annual property taxes on real estate, often over many decades of ownership.  Missouri is among just 13 states that do not impose a transfer tax on real estate sales, including all of Missouri’s neighboring states. As state, county and city revenues decline, politicians are tempted to impose new transfer taxes - just as Missouri citizens are struggling to make it. 

The proposed state constitutional amendment’s language is straightforward and simple:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prevent the state, counties, and other political subdivisions from imposing any new tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of homes or any other real estate?”

The proposed amendment is sponsored by the 21,000-member Missouri Association of REALTORS®, which wants to keep Missourians from being saddled with unfair double taxation that can destroy the American dream of home ownership. Learn more about the amendment at




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