Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kansas City Missouri's Earnings tax has been renewed for five more years. By an astoundingly large majority, Kansas City voters approved the 5 year renewal on Tuesday in a 78-22 percent vote. Voters took the Pro E-tax story hook, line, and sinker. E-tax supporters painted a dismal, scary picture of the future without an Earnings Tax - more than half of Firefighters laid off, Police and other vital services cut dramatically. The fact is that other cities (almost all) cities around the country survive without an Earnings Tax. They get Leaner, Meaner, cut corruption, and look for other sources of income that don't discourage business and residents from locating to their city.
Freedon PAC Spokesman Woody Cozad said he was disappointed, but not surprised. At least there was a public referendum and debate on the tax that has been unchanged with virtually no discussion for 40 years. There was certainly interest generated. Turnout for Tuesday's one- issue vote was higher than the recent Mayoral election.
Proposition A, passed by a vote of the entire State, required this vote and also requires a new vote every 5 years on the tax. Legislation has already been introduced to require less frequent votes, say every ten years or so. With the huge margins by which the Earnings Tax passed in both Kansas City and St Louis (the margin was even greater there), the Missouri Legislature is likely to approve the change. Kansas City and St Louis will argue that it's expensive to run an election and it also hurts the cities' credit ratings.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem ruled in favor of keeping Missouri Proposition A on the November ballot. Proposition A would ban cities in Missouri from collecting an income tax. The two cities that currently have an Earnings (income) tax - St Louis and Kansas City - would be required to have voters decide if the tax could continue. Next year would be the first such vote, and if the tax is continued, it would have to be voted on every five years. Kansas City Mayor Funkhouser said he was disappointed and would continue to try and educate citizens about the need for the earnings tax revenue in the city.
A large percentage of Kansas City's general budget is derived from the "E-tax" as it's called. The matter has not been brought to the voters in years. It has city officials terrified. The city has become dependent on this income - like a drug addict, it craves more and more money.
Many supporters of the earnings tax in Kansas City are geared to fight the statewide measure in November. They include the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and of course Police and Firefighters Unions, The city of Kansas City (Mayor Funkhouser), and other government employee unions. Others - like St Louis Mayor Francis Slay - think the passage of Proposition A is a foregone conclusion and are instead gearing up for the local vote on the Earnings Tax next year. This approach makes more sense to me, the local voters should have a say when it comes to how they are taxed.
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