A taxing question

This past Sunday the Kansas City Star’s Editorial Board released an editorial that questioned two taxes that will be on the November ballot by asking the hypothetical question: why do Kansas City residents keep voting to tax themselves?
This conservatively leaning News-Dog wonders the same thing frankly, given the return on investment. We’ve noted repeatedly that having dinner or drinks in any one of the city’s numerous entertainment districts will set you back a coin or two in sales tax alone given that currently sits at a shade under 11%. Adding a 20% gratuity to the tab and you pay roughly 30% of your bill in tax and tip alone.

The Star’s piece, however, points out how “expensive” the taxes on the November ballot will be to an already overtaxed populous. The two ballot initiatives in question are the state gas tax and a local library tax. One has to wonder though, why now of all times the Star comes out of the woodwork and begins to question tax increases given they’ve endorsed every tax increase or extension they now question in their Sunday editorial!

Cited in the article are the recently renewed COMBAT Tax, the city’s E-Tax, the overwhelmingly approved GO-Bond Tax, the Central City Sales Tax, the 1-cent Children’s Fund Tax, the Indigent Fund Tax, the Public Improvements Tax and more. All of these tax increases or extensions have been endorsed by The Star’s Editorial Board down through the years as being necessary. It’s been oft noted here at the House of News that The Star’s Editorial Board never met a tax it didn’t like!

For the record, the local library tax increases shouldn’t even be on the ballot, given it’s a direct result of this Council and the Mayor continuing to grant tax abatements for luxury condo projects and hot-shot corporate office campuses. As we’ve noted before, both the Kansas City School District and the Hickman Mills School District have had to make draconian cuts to student and education-centered programming due to the city council approving TIF project after TIF project. Here’s a potential solution, stop approving tax abatements for every developer with a set of half-baked blueprints and voila, the need for a library tax increase instantly goes away. Funny how that works isn’t it? As for the state gas tax increase, a lion’s share of those monies will go to the Missouri Highway Patrol for continued vehicle enforcement on the state’s roadways. Lawmakers, almost as an afterthought added roadway improvements to that ballot language.

But like the Dog noted up front, why would The Star pick now of all times, with the much needed library improvement levy on the ballot, would the oracles at 1729 Grand choose to cast doubt as to the necessity of the legislation? Anyone who’s been around a while will remember the feature on the old Arsenio Hall show in which the host tapped the side of his head with his index finger, looked in to the camera with a knowing look and asked: “things that make you go hmmmmm.” The timing of The Star’s piece, an open denouncement of the two questioned levy increases, just ahead of an election that has the funding of our local library system in its crosshairs certainly make this critically thinking Newshound echo Hall’s sentiments; things that make you go hmmmmm.

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