FOUL: The truth about personal property taxes on cars and boats is that a lot of people in Missouri pay them late. Say you're a U.S. senator and you and your husband own an airplane. You only run for election every six years. Eventually, one of your staffers, or one of the researchers paid by your opponent, will find the tax is delinquent. So you'll pay late. You'll apologize. And hundreds of other airplane owners will suddenly reach for their wallets. For many regular Joes, the bill gets paid when you need to renew your license plates on your car. Sometimes, you just forget. Other times, you get the bill around the holidays and decide the new Wii for the kids will be worth the few extra bucks in late fees come January. We've all been there. (OK, not all, but plenty of us).
But then again, none of us except for Stacy Bailey is the new collector of revenue for St. Louis County. Ms. Bailey's new job is, as her title suggests, to collect the taxes that some of us don't like much to pay. So it should come as a bit of a shock to find out, as Paul Hampel reported in the Post-Dispatch on Thursday, that Ms. Bailey and her husband haven't paid their personal property taxes since 2008. This is embarrassing, not so much for Ms. Bailey, who isn't much different than the rest of us scofflaws, but for St. Louis County administrators, specifically Eugene Leung, the director of revenue; Mike Jones, the co-director of operations; and Charlie Dooley, who, as county executive, is the man in charge. How do you hire somebody to collect taxes who hasn't paid their own? That's just laughably incompetent. But it won't be so laughable when delinquent taxpayers ask Mr. Dooley to give them the same leeway he's apparently showing to Ms. Bailey.
— Tony Messenger