KC’s earnings tax election set against backdrop of high stakes, fierce opposition

As another election for Kansas City’s 1 percent earnings tax approaches, Kansas City touts a popular mayor, improved citizen satisfaction scores and an economy on the rebound. But a lot has changed since voters renewed the tax in 2011 and this time around, the stakes are higher.

Since 2011, state law has required Kansas City and St. Louis voters to renew the earnings tax every five years. This year’s Kansas City election comes amid an intensifying debate over the city’s financial priorities, including an airport renovation and construction of a downtown streetcar.

In Kansas City, the e-tax generates more than $230 million per year, or about 40 percent of the general fund for police, fire, ambulance, trash collection, street maintenance and other basic services. City Manager Troy Schulte has estimated that if voters oppose the renewal, 800 Kansas City police officers would have to be let go over 10 years and the tax could not be reinstated.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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