Better Together overestimated merger's financial benefits, professors say

The pro-merger advocacy group Better Together made critical errors in its tax revenue estimates and expense projections that led it to vastly overestimate the potential financial success of a consolidated St. Louis government, a report by three local professors said on Monday.

All told, the merger of St. Louis, St. Louis County and all 88 county municipalities wouldn’t save $1 billion a year, as Better Together estimated, but would instead lead to “tens of millions” of dollars in annual deficits, the report said.

“They made errors that you would think a professional group wouldn’t make,” said Webster University professor emeritus Jim Brasfield, one of the report’s authors.

Brasfield and University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professors E. Terrence Jones and Mark Tranel all have experience in municipal government.

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