Signatures needed for initiative petition
November 20, 2009
B.J. Lawrence of Pacific, MO is hoping that the Internet will help her group with obtaining enough signatures for a successful initiative petition, a process that has the secretary of state's approval. It seeks to eliminate all property and personal property taxes assessed in the state of Missouri.

Lawrence hopes to collect over 200,000 signatures in order to get the proposal on the November 2010 ballot. She says tax reform is her number one issue, although her support appears to be in response to blockage of her initiative petition seeking to end eminent domain abuse.

The Lawrence-backed group Missouri Citizens for Property Rights (CPR) proposed an initiative petition amending the state Constitution that, if approved, would prevent local governments from using eminent domain to take property for private use, defined as for "subdivisions or shopping centers." But the Missouri Municipal League, a lobbying organization for local governments, has stymied gathering of signatures by bringing a lawsuit seeking to modify its ballot language. Consequently, the appeals court ordered a 4 1/2 month briefing schedule resulting in a decision no sooner than January or February 2010 and limiting any signature gathering to about three months before an imposed deadline. In question is whether cities would have the right to condemn property in "nuisance cases"--property seized in drug busts or property that is otherwise deemed unsafe--without prior court action. CPR in support of due process thinks not.

The petition to eliminate property taxes was created in August 2009 by Angela Basham of Leasburg, operator of an accounting business. Launching the petition drive was motivated by her concern for the property tax burden on senior citizen property owners.

"This initiative petition is an all volunteer effort. We do not have the funds to pay folks to collect signatures," Lawrence admitted. However, anyone wishing to volunteer, wanting more information on the campaign, carrying a petition or signing a petition should go here, contact Lawrence at (636) 271-7817 or e-mail her here.

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