KC mayor, civic groups decry bill that would end city earnings tax

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and two prominent civic groups wasted little time in voicing their opposition to a bill filed this week by State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, that would repeal the city’s earnings tax and the earnings tax in St. Louis.

James, along with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, said that Schaefer’s proposal to cut Kansas City’s 1 percent earning tax was based on faulty reasoning and would have detrimental financial consequences.

The tax, which was enacted in the 1960s, has long been the city’s top revenue source. Kansas City financial projections suggest the elimination of the tax — which must be approved by voters every five years and is on the city’s April ballot — would result in the loss of 800 police officers, 550 firefighters and hundreds of other city employees.

Schaefer, who is chairman of the Senate appropriations committee and a candidate for attorney general, wants to end the taxes in Kansas City and St. Louis by the end of 2017.

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