On the November 2 ballot, Missouri voters will be asked to pass Proposition A, which would severely limit Kansas City’s ability to generate revenue. If passed, Prop A will: 1) prohibit any local community from enacting an earnings tax to fund local services and initiatives; 2) require existing communities with earnings taxes (Kansas City and St. Louis) to hold a vote on the tax this spring and every five years thereafter.
The ballot initiative is supported—and funded to the tune of more than $10 million—by billionaire financier Rex Sinquefield, who makes no secret his total opposition to earnings and income taxes.
The earnings tax provides 40% of general fund revenues in Kansas City, and more than one third of revenues in St. Louis. The lost revenue could only be made up by a doubling of sales taxes, a quadrupling of property taxes or some combination of both.
This lost revenue would negatively impact police, fire protection, ambulance and emergency assistance, violence prevention for youth, and many other city services.
Drastically shrinking our city budgets also has many health-related implications. Our cities provide many public health functions—ensuring food is safe to eat by inspecting restaurants and grocery stores, providing immunizations and flu shots, preparing for storms and disasters, and monitoring for any disease outbreaks such as the bird flu.
These city services are also essential for attracting new businesses and residents.
The earnings tax is an important tool of local governments, especially Missouri’s largest cities. The ideological attack on the earnings tax—with no replacement revenue in the plan—will make Kansas City a less healthy, less safe place to live and work.