Jan on the Elections
Spring is chock-full of important decision points for Kansas City voters. Two important elections take place in the next four weeks: the General Election for Mayor and City Council on March 22 and the E-Tax Renewal on April 5. Both will help to shape the direction of our city for the next four to five years. Help me to spread the word about how critical it is that voters turn out and indicate their choices in both elections.
The next Mayor and Council must work effectively as a cohesive team to move Kansas City forward. We must be prepared for the many challenges that face us, as well as the expected upturn in our economy. In Sly James and Mike Burke we have two excellent candidates and I hope you take time to get to know them and their positions.
My opinion is that the earnings tax must be retained so that we can continue to provide essential services to our residents. You may also hear this tax referred to as the e-tax.
The earnings tax is not a new tax. It was first approved by the citizens of Kansas City in 1963, then renewed and doubled to the current 1% rate in 1970. The earnings tax accounts for almost 40% of the city's general fund, which pays for essential basic services such as police and fire protection, ambulance services, street improvements, trash collection, and parks. A little more than half of the earnings tax money goes to fire and police service. Yael Abouhalkah of the Kansas City Star provides some useful analysis about what the e-tax (and its absence) means to Kansas Citians in a recent article.
Without this tax, hundreds of police and firefighters will be laid off and the City will have to increase property and sales taxes. Residents will have to pay for trash collection and recycling. Currently, close to 50% of the tax receipts come from people living outside of the Kansas City limits. Without this tax, KCMO residents will bear the entire cost of services within our boundaries. Those who work in our city but live elsewhere will not contribute to the cost of services they enjoy during the working day. This just does not seem fair to me and I hope you agree.
Please vote with me to retain the earnings tax on April 5th.