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Final push for ballot Question 1: Earnings tax

Posted: 4:41 PM, Apr 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-04 18:46:11-04

Supporters and opponents of Kansas City’s earnings tax made one final push to get voters to head to the polls Monday.

Earnings tax:

  • 40 percent of Kansas City’s General Fund
  • $230 million per year
  • Nearly 50 percent of the tax paid by people who don't live in KC
  • Earnings tax first approved by voters in 1963
  • 4,000 cities and counties across the country levy some kind of wage tax

 

Progress KC urged voters to vote Yes to keep the 1 percent earnings tax. Campaign spokesman Steve Glorioso said it’s the most important ballot issue voters will decide on.

The day before the election, voter turnout was expected around 18 percent.

Last time voters voted on the tax in 2011, it passed with 78 percent in favor, but Glorioso said that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t vote.

“There's a little concern the turnout will be lower than normal for such an important election, and when it gets too low, then you can't predict what will happen,” Glorioso said.

The earnings tax has been in place since voters approved a measure in 1963, but opponents of the tax, like Citizens for Responsible Government, said it’s time to find a new approach.

“It's a terribly regressive tax. It hurts the poorest of the poorest people and the fact that they are taxed at the very first dollar that they make,” said Dan Coffey of the Missouri Citizens for Responsible Government.

If passed Tuesday, the question will be on the ballot again in five years.

“This conversation will not end tomorrow. It's our intention to keep the conversation going. We're going to continue to look at how City Hall's spending taxpayer dollars and if we can think of a better way, we're going to tell them," said Coffey.

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Shannon Halligan can be reached at shannon.halligan@kshb.com.

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