Kansas City Zoo Tax for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too
Last week, the Kansas City Star ran a story about a recent debate among local politicians in the Kansas portion of the metro area. They were asked whether they supported a regional sales tax to support the zoo, in both Missouri and Kansas counties, and they all said “no”.
This will be played in some circles as a lack of regionalism in the community, with Kansas residents unwilling to support an institution on the Missouri side of the river. I don’t think it is a big deal, because Kansas residents support the zoo every time they attend by paying an admission fee.
This is a more complicated question in St. Louis, where residents of both St. Louis city and county pay a tax for the zoo, and everyone gets in for free. I think that residents of the surrounding counties should be given an option whether to tax themselves to support the zoo or instead have to pay an admission fee. But I don’t think certain people should pay a tax to support a free zoo so that everyone else can also enjoy it for free. (And, yes, I realize you pay for the parking lots, and the train, and the food and drink sales, and the children’s zoo, so you probably spend plenty of money when you attend no matter where you come from.)
I’d like to see St. Charles, Franklin, and Jefferson counties institute a property tax (in the long run, hopefully just a land tax) for support of the zoo. Then the rate could be lowered even further — and it is already a pretty low tax. I also think the other counties should get a representative on the governing board of the zoo if they opt in.
Again though, it’s perfectly fine with me if the residents of those counties choose not to tax themselves for the zoo. In that case, they should pay an admission fee — simple as that. I’d love to hear someone from a surrounding county argue that they should pay neither taxes nor an admission charge to come to the St. Louis Zoo. All aboard the free rider train!