Voters in Kansas City and St. Louis overwhelmingly approved five-year extensions to 1 percent earnings tax measures in their cities, averting large cuts to basic service budgets and handing decisive defeats to campaigns against the levy.
In St. Louis, where 72 percent of voters opted to keep the tax, an opposition campaign received more than $2 million from prominent conservative donor Rex Sinquefield and argued that the tax encourages businesses to locate outside the city.
Pro-earnings tax campaigns in Kansas City and St. Louis were backed by numerous civic groups, including chambers of commerce, and mayors Sly James and Francis Slay.
Elsewhere in local elections, Columbia voters chose political consultant Brian Treece over attorney Skip Walther as the city’s new mayor and reelected two incumbent councilmen. Treece’s priorities will include trying to boost spending on public safety and ensuring downtown development doesn’t outstrip infrastructure.
In Springfield, transportation sales taxes won in a landslide and will continue bringing in about $15 million annually. City officials in November listed 15 projects, including street widenings and stormwater improvements, they plan to fund with the revenue.