Dollar bill
Patrick Tuohey

The Beatles famously sang the above lyric in their song Taxman. It comes to mind because, believe it or not, leaders in Kansas City think that a 14 percent sales tax is—I am not making this up—not high enough.

KSHB TV, WDAF TV and The Kansas City Star reported on the matter. The latter quoted Kansas City’s Mayor James saying, "I'm not asking the state legislature to do anything other than leave us alone.” (This is usually the Mayor’s response unless he is looking for more money from state government, such as in tax credits or state funds.)

The Star reports,

And if the city imposes a new 1 cent sales tax for the Central Business District—part of a deal it struck last month with Power & Light District developer Cordish to help pay for parking garages—the cumulative rate would be 13.6 percent.

You don’t need to be an anti-tax ideologue to wonder if there is a point at which sales taxes are just too high.  Back in 2014, Steve Vockrodt of The Pitch asked, “City Hall rationalizes these incentive deals by saying they boost the local economy and expand the tax base. But if that's true, then why do all these tax proposals keep coming up?” That was back when the sales tax at the Power & Light District topped out at 11.1 percent.

If Kansas City is undergoing revitalization—as city leaders claim—then why are we still raising taxes for the many to give tax breaks to the few? If this is success, it appears taxpayers can’t afford much more of it.

About the Author

Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey
Director of Municipal Policy

Patrick Tuohey is the Director of Municipal Policy at the Show-Me Institute.