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What Tuesday’s election results show about consumer confidence

Posted at 9:09 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 10:09:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The results of Tuesday’s elections across Missouri have economists feeling optimistic.

From Claycomo to Grandview and Blue Springs to Kansas City, voters in just about every municipality approved a new tax or renewed an existing tax.

The fact voters are willing to tax themselves during a pandemic is a sign the economy is rebounding, according to Bill Black, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

“This is largely a matter of optimism and it largely returns to the idea that the government can in fact be part of the solution and isn’t necessarily the problem,” Black pointed out.

He said voters have realized over the past year the government is necessary with its unemployment benefits, vaccine rollout and other matters which require funding. He also pointed out most of the metropolitan area leans Democratic, and Democrats are feeling optimistic in general after President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

“People believe things are getting better, that their personal economic condition is likely to get better,” Black said.

That sentiment is reflected in the Consumer Confidence Index. In March, the measurement recorded its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began one year ago.

Consumer confidence and election results have Black feeling cautiously optimistic the economy will grow stronger faster than experts anticipated.

“One of the things [voters] are saying is we can’t wait until things get catastrophic, we need to fix things now,” Black said.

In Kansas City, voters renewed an earnings tax. Claycomo adopted a use tax. Voters in Blue Springs renewed a sales tax to benefit the parks department. Voters within the Grandview School District agreed to a property tax levy increase to support the district.