earnings tax

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City voters have again renewed the 1 percent earnings tax.

Unofficial results had the earnings tax passing with 77 percent of the vote. All precincts in Clay, Jackson and Platte counties were reporting as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“By the vote tonight, the business community and the citizens have said the quality of life in this city is what we want it to be, and we want to keep making it stronger,” said Mayor Sly James at a watch party in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board Room at Union Station.

Kansas Elections Board

An earnings tax question tops the ballot in Kansas City April 5, and the Kansas City Elections Board says voting will be quick. But some waited in line for hours March 15 to vote in Missouri's presidential primary. After, the elections board was apologizing for technical glitches that came with an over-sized turnout.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The first time Kansas City Mayor Sly James says something to me about the earnings tax, it’s right after Thanksgiving.

I’ve already turned off my recorder, and we’re chatting as I pack up my equipment. I ask if he has plans for birthday (he turned 64 on Dec. 9).

"Oh," he tells me, "I have to go to a fundraiser for the earnings tax campaign."

"Gee, you sure know how to party," I reply.

In the months since, I’ve talked to James about the earnings tax probably a dozen times.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Several dozen Kansas City residents went to the city's first public budget hearing for the 2016-2017 budget Saturday morning, and most who testified had the same three things on their minds: infrastructure, blighted houses and the city's earnings tax. 

City council members listened to the residents' testimony for more than an hour at the Kansas City, Missouri, Regional Police Academy. Keith Nelson of the North Bennington neighborhood in the Northland told council members that infrastructure needs had been neglected for too long.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James made an impassioned plea on behalf of the earnings tax campaign at a NAACP forum Thursday night.

“I think the earnings tax is of particular interest to Kansas Citians, whether they’re black, white or Latino,” James said before the forum, which about two dozen people attended.

Revenue generated from the 1 percent tax on people who live or work in the city makes up the bulk of the general fund and pays for vital city services like police, fire and ambulance. State law requires a vote to renew the earnings tax every five years.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is no longer the target of a conservative Missouri lawmaker who wants to repeal the earnings tax.

Columbia Sen. Kurt Schaefer dropped Kansas City from his bill challenging the earnings tax on constitutional grounds. The bill, which advanced out of committee Thursday, now focuses solely on St. Louis.

Mayor Sly James credits a strong showing of Kansas Citians in support of the earnings tax for getting Schaefer to back down. James and others testified in Jefferson City earlier this month.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Gov. Jay Nixon didn’t mince words when asked about the earnings tax during a stop at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley Wednesday.

“It is wrong for the legislature to say to local communities who’ve voted on how they’re going to fund their services to take away after the people have voted the option for them to fund their services that way,” Nixon said.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

City officials kicked off a campaign to save Kansas City’s 1 percent earning tax Monday at Union Station.

It’s sometimes called a “fly over” tax by opponents because about half of the people who pay it commute from the suburbs to work in the city.

“I don’t care whether you call it an earnings tax or a fly-over tax or a ground tax or a water tax or whatever the heck you call it, $230 million would have to be replaced,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said.

kcmo.org

The committee room in Jefferson City was packed with political, public safety, business and community leaders from Kansas City and St. Louis on Thursday. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee was accepting testimony on a proposal sponsored by state Senator Kurt Schaefer to outlaw the earnings taxes that both cities.

The ban is supported by St. Louis libertarian activist Rex Sinquefield, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to Schaefer and other lawmakers who are backing the plan.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation. This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

The Missouri legislative session is already underway in Jefferson City. On this week's Statehouse Blend, we discuss the most important issues for the 2016 assembly, and speculate on the outcomes. We're talking ethics reform, guns, and transportation.

Guests:

Casie Kolbinsky/KOMU / Flickr--CC

Kansas City’s earnings tax faces a big battle next year, and not just at the ballot box.

The 1 percent tax on people who live or work in Kansas City has to be approved by voters every five years, but not if a mid-Missouri state senator gets his way.

Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia has pre-filed legislation to repeal the taxes in Kansas City and St. Louis. In a statement, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James has already vowed to fight “this wrong-minded legislation.”

The earnings tax brought in $228 million last year for the city.