St. Louis Business Journal — Merger savings? 'Unknown,' but estimated to reach $1B a year by 2032, auditor says

By Jacob Kirn

The Missouri state auditor's office on Tuesday released its fiscal note for Better Together's planned merger of the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, saying the savings for the new "metropolitan city" are "unknown," but estimated to be as much as $1 billion annually by 2032.

The fiscal note's summary also says that individual St. Louis County municipalities "expect decreased revenues to exceed savings with a total unknown impact."

Read the auditor's fiscal note here.

The Business Journal previously reported on the municipalities' estimates, with many saying the plan would "financially devastate" them. Better Together has claimed its plan would save local governments $4.9 billion over a decade, including the $1 billion a year by 2032. Academics, including University of Missouri-St. Louis professor Terry Joneshave said that government mergerselsewhere have tended not to produce savings.

Better Together said in a statement Tuesday, "The State Auditors fiscal note confirmed what our studies have already proven. The St. Louis region is massively overspending on duplicative Government services and the Better Together consolidation plan will save taxpayers billions. We look forward to educating taxpayers on this issue over the next 20 months."

The nonprofit's plan would see the city and county combined via constitutional amendment. A statewide vote would come in November 2020.

By law, the auditor must prepare a fiscal note, which will now go to the state attorney general, who must certify it. The fiscal note and summary would then go to the secretary of state.

Read the article at St. Louis Business Journal.