Showing posts with label Kansas City Earnings Tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kansas City Earnings Tax. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kansas City E Tax Supporters Win Huge Victory

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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Earnings Tax Vote Next Week in Kansas City

With Kansas City's ultra-boring Mayor's race decided, we now move on to something so much more fun-The Earnings Tax. Next Tuesday, Kansas Citians (at least those who give a shit) will go to the polls to decide the future of the city's earnings tax. Since the 1960's, anyone who lives in or works in Kansas City has paid a portion of their earnings to the city - since 1970 that percentage has been 1%. Doesn't sound like much, but after the Feds, the State, FICA, and insurance get done with you - the last thing you need is the City feeding at your teet as well. Supporters of continuing the E-tax cite the loss of $200 million in funding for the city and devastation it would cause. It certainly would not be easy, but neither is living on half of what I used to make. Many, many households are getting by with less, and there is no reason why the city can't as well. There are roughly 25 cities in the country that currently have earnings taxes - how do all the other cities survive? Scare tactics used by the pro tax side may well work, though. They claim the city will lay off Police and Fire, and streets will go unrepaired. Well, that's the job of the city leaders - they need to figure it out.

Really in the end, fairness is not the issue. It's just the right thing for the city to do. It will promote new residents and businesses. I can tell you from personal experience as someone who left Kansas City after living there my entire life until age 32 that the E-Tax was a strong consideration to my leaving. I do not work or live in Kansas City anymore, so I really don't have a dog in this fight (my apologies to Michael Vick), but I do want what is best for the city and defeating the E-tax would be best in the long term.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sly James is Kansas City's New Mayor

Sly James is the new mayor of Kansas City. He defeated Mike Burke by about 6,000 votes - His victory margin was particularly large in Jackson County. Turnout was a paltry 21% - about what was expected. The friendly nature of the race might have hurt turnout, or general voter apathy is a likely reason as well. It was better than the 15% turnout for the primary, however.

Though he has never been elected to political office before, James won over voters with his likable personality and his portrayal as a political outsider. He is a successful lawyer with a knack for leadership, having served as President of the Kansas City Bar Association. He had endorsements form local labor unions and hispanic organizations, as well as the Kansas City Star (whatever that was worth). Mike Burke, his opponent, was endorsed by "three former mayors", as he would tell anyone that listened - in fact, that seemed to be the only thing he said during the campaign. Congratulations Sly James, and good luck figuring out the Kansas City budget without the e-tax that will soon be defeated.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kansas City Looks to Future Without Earnings Tax

Tuesday's Passage of Prop A in Missouri will lead to a vote next spring in Kansas City on the future of their 1% Income Tax. City Leaders are critical of the plan, why wouldn't they be - the Earnings tax supposedly makes up 45% of the city revenue. If that figure is correct, Kansas City has some real problems. Property and sales taxes in the city are on par or even higher than many other areas in Missouri. Why on earth they can't get by without an income tax is beyond me, most everywhere else does.

The good news for the City is that the Earnings tax will be phased out over 10 years (if Kansas City voters decide to end the tax) giving the city time to adjust to the lowered revenues. The Mayor himself said that we need a new tax structure that is "pro business and pro Kansas City, and we don't have that now."

The end of the Earnings tax will ultimately be a good thing for the city. I personally know a handful of people who moved out of Kansas City because of the tax - there are already enough reasons to move to the suburbs (schools, crime, etc..) without the extra tax. It will make Kansas City more competitive and hopefully more efficient in it's delivery of services. Some cuts would be tough, but it's a job that needs to be done, and a solution will be found. I grew up in Kansas City, I love Kansas City - ending the Earnings Tax will make it a better place.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Earnings Tax Fight Heats up in Kansas City

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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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