Kansas City, Mo. – A statewide drive to quash the earnings tax in Kansas City and St. Louis is about to begin in earnest. Initiative petitions will be circulated no later than this weekend to promote a Missouri referendum.
The drive will be well funded, in the words of the Jefferson City attorney who drew up the proposal. A half million dollars has been donated as seed money. It comes from St. Louis businessman Rex Sinquefield.
Petition author Marc Ellinger says if the measure passes, voters in the two big cities would vote every five years, starting next year, whether to keep the e tax alive. If the decision is to repeal, the tax would be phased out over a decade.
Ellinger sees support for the measure, not only out-state, but in the cities as well--"it'll be about a hundred thousand signatures, minimum, that have to be filed with the Secretary of State by May 2nd."
The earnings tax provides Kansas City with a huge amount of operating revenue. It is expected to bring in some $200 million this coming fiscal year.
Opponents have said for years that the one percent of income levy hampers economic development, driving new business to suburbs or across state lines where employees would not have to pay the tax, providing they don't live in Kansas City or St. Louis.