Earnings Tax Opponents Already Getting Results
On April 5, Kansas Citians will vote on whether to retain the 1% earnings tax. This vote was brought about a few years ago by a statewide petition requiring regular votes on the earnings tax in Kansas City and St. Louis. City leaders and their corporate cronies have bemoaned the effort since it was launched, and regularly resort to ad hominem attacks on one of the lead supporters of the effort, a founder of the Show-Me Institute.
Recently, Kansas Citians have been examining how the city spends their money. They don't seem impressed. This has resulted in petition challenges to the airport, convention hotel, and a crossroads TIF. A KCPT documentary added fuel by focusing on the city's poor record of addressing blight. Voters on the east side—who bear the brunt of the city's neglect—seem fed up with being asked to support every tax, such as the earnings tax, and getting little in return. All this has sent city leaders scrambling to demonstrate that they can deliver basic services. For example, the Mayor has announced a new effort to tear down over 800 dangerous vacant homes in the city. It's not as if the Mayor was just made aware of the houses; he promised to address the situation in his first campaign.
It remains to be seen how the city will define "dangerous buildings" and the degree to which the various agencies make good on their promises. But does anyone doubt that this is happening because city leaders are required to defend the earnings tax and how they spend the proceeds?