The earnings tax will stay and sales and property taxes will increase if a mayoral commission on municipal revenue gets its way.
The commission, appointed by Mayor Sly James to create a municipal revenue plan for the future, released its draft report late Monday.
Raise Taxes, Keep The E-Tax
The commission recommends that the city keep its 1% earnings tax and seek new revenues through the use of additional sales and property taxes. It recommends that the purposes to which some sales tax revenues are dedicated be broadened or changed. New sales and property taxes would, for example, be used for Mayor James's infrastructure-improvement plan, but taxes that require renewal votes would not be used for ongoing operations, such as the fire department.
Continuing along those lines, the report recommends that the city start a lobbying campaign in Jefferson City to reverse a state initiative that forces a renewal vote on the e-tax every five years. It also says the city should encourage the state to grant fewer sales tax exemptions.
No Tax Breaks Defined For Low-Income Residents
The commission discussed several options for giving some tax-relief to low-income Kansas Citians, but found shortcomings in all of them and made no tax-relief recommendation. For example, the group said a proposal to deduct earnings tax paid from city property tax for those with incomes under $25,000 would give no relief to senior citizens who don't pay e-tax.
Health Levy Depends On Fate Of Affordable Care Act
It recommends that the city seek a renewal of the current Health Levy, and notes that if the federal Affordable Health Care Act, which opponents call "Obamacare", is overturned or repealed the city will have higher health care related expenses and sill have to extend the tax for a much longer period.
Other Commissions Also Report
Seven other commissions appointed by James also issued their reports, including the arts, ethics reform, the mayor's "read at grade-level" program, small business encouragement, economic development and bi-state cooperation. All the reports are posted at kcmayor.org.
In his news release announcing the reports, James commented that they represent the fulfillment of his campaign promises to create blueprints for the city in all those areas. The reports were released in observation of James' completion of his first full year as mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.