Government
1:10 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Council Alters Billboard Tax Plan; No Nukes On Hold

Proposals for a billboard tax and forbidding city participation in facilities involved in the production of nuclear weapons took changes of direction in a city council committee Wednesday.

Bob Fessler and other advertising executives were very direct in what their response would be if voters were to pass the 2 percent tax on billboard revenues.   "Our company and the industry and the Advertising Association of America have already decided: we are going to contest it, " said Fessler.

With the prospect of years of court battle over constitutionality, the idea of a billboard tax to bring in revenues to police the billboard industry suddenly became less attractive. But the committee advanced a revision calling for a flat $100 license fee per billboard. If the council accepts it this afternoon, that is what voters will see on the November ballot.

The committee left sending the voters an initiative forbidding city incentives for any more nuclear weapons components plants hanging. It will be on the full council agenda September 13 with no recommendation one way or the other.  Thursday, August 23 is the deadline for submission of items for Kansas City's November ballot.

The election on on the specific taxes for downtown streetcars will not be on the November ballot. Kike the one that created the streetcar taxing district, it will be conducted by mail. In that election fewer than 500 people out of 3600 eligible voters asked for and mailed in ballots.

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