Kansas City Adds Single Measure To November Ballot
It has been a busy week for public officials in Kansas City. Yesterday, the Kansas City Council added one new item to this November’s ballot —a proposal that would raise the mandatory retirement age for municipal judges — but nixed three proposals that were of a more ambitious nature. The proposals that were axed?
- A proposed $100 annual tax on billboards to help the city “deal with billboard blight.” Similar to an earlier idea that would have enacted a 2 percent tax on the revenues companies collected for outdoor signs, the $100 iteration was ultimately scuttled over concerns that the revenue generated would not actually fix the problem of billboards that, among other things, were blank “too long,” which could be as little as three months. Pretty sure “blank billboards” do not exactly rise to the level of pressing municipal issues in Kansas City. Apparently, given the functional and funding problems presented to the council in the proposal, city officials seemed to agree.
- A proposal from a group called the “Peace Planters” which would have blocked any financial involvement by the city with manufacturers that produce nuclear weapons components. Curtailing municipal handouts is certainly good policy — after all, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other tax incentives are long-overdue for reform — but to prevent only one type of business on ideological grounds from going to the trough seems like just another way of picking winners and losers. Better to reform how all incentives are meted out than selectively change one minor aspect of a fundamentally bad policy.
- Yet another proposal from eternal light rail advocate Clay Chastain to build a light rail system in Kansas City. Although Chastain’s promise to “go away” after years of activism if the council put his proposal on the ballot certainly had its allure, the council declined to take him up on the offer.