In delivering the first State of the City address of his second term on Tuesday, Kansas City Mayor Sly James highlighted a number of business and economic successes his city has enjoyed, including the arrival of Google Fiber, the construction of a streetcar line and a boom in downtown development.
He also stressed the importance of the city’s 1 percent earnings tax to helping maintain that momentum. James said the tax, established in the 1960s, was created with future generations in mind. He said Kansas Citians today must also consider their children and grandchildren.
The tax brings in about $230 million annually, or more than 40 percent of the city’s $543 million general fund. But since 2011, state law has required Kansas City and St. Louis to hold votes every five years on whether to renew their earnings taxes.
Residents of both cities will vote on Tuesday to determine the fate of their earnings taxes.
This year, lawmakers at the state level have waged a fight against the municipal earnings taxes, and some legislators have pledged to continue their efforts regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s votes.