KC Spending Still Doesn’t Add Up
We were delighted to see the Kansas City Star step forward recently to decry the fast growth of city spending:
Kansas City taxpayers often hear that City Hall is strapped for cash.
No, it’s not. Residents and businesses are shouldering a much larger burden than ever in financing public safety, street maintenance and water service improvements.
City spending has gone up far faster than the rate of inflation, even after accounting for small population growth.
To their credit, this is not the first time Star editorialists have sounded the alarm over city spending on maintenance and basic services.
- February 18, 1990: An editorial titled, “Sales Tax Money Still Is Misspent,” details how a capital improvement sales tax passed in 1988 was misspent on other items;
- May 18, 2006: Yael Abouhalkah wrote, “[Mayor Kay] Barnes and the City Council—without much attention—have reduced the amount of general city funds (separate from the bonds) that are supposed to be used for deferred maintenance.”
- December 25, 2008: Abouhalkah wrote of an effort to consider a new trash pick up fee, “The earnings tax passed by voters in 1970 still brings in more than enough revenue to pay for weekly trash service.”
Their most recent editorial ends with this:
City Hall is not in the poorhouse. Taxpayers provide plenty of funds for public services. City officials must be extra vigilant in making sure that money is used efficiently before requesting even more taxes or fees from residents.
Indeed, City Hall is not in the poorhouse. So when Mayor James says that another tax increase may be necessary to pay for basic city services, the Show-Me Institute looks forward to a vigorous public debate about city priorities and spending. We even imagine that we may be on the same side as the Star.