KCUR News
5:52 am
Thu May 15, 2008

Mayor Proposes Black Heritage District

Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser introduced a plan this afternoon to eliminate the city's sales tax for 23 years in the area surrounding 18th and Vine. The plan is intended to attract small businesses back to a once-thriving area.

At an outdoors press conference this morning, business owner Ollie Gates said there are currently about 80 retail businesses in the entire district.

"Right across the street was a grocery store - it's closed now, Gates said. "There was a cleaners right across the street. Right behind you was a business, We brought you to 27th and Troost to show you what has happened to an area which has brand new houses but is not able to service those houses."

Mayor Funkhouser said the lost sales tax would be made up many times over through property and other taxes generated by new small businesses. The new incentive would need to be approved by the state assembly, council members say it's unlikely to pass this session. Some lawmakers think the plan would give retailers too large of a price advantage over other businesses in the area.