Reposted from Facebook Quick comment on the e-tax – November 5, 2010
Prop A passed. Now what?
It seems like a lot of online discussion related to the e-tax is trending toward repealing it, and letting KC suffer. A lot of suburban residents don’t seem to think that forcing huge budget cuts on the anchor of the metro will affect them much at all. A lot of residents of KC proper seem to be short-sighted, as well. Kansas City, Missouri passed Prop A by a 52-48 margin, showing how unconcerned residents are with the city’s current and future budget woes. To me, letting KC suffer is NOT an option. The huge loss of jobs and amenities, as well as city services, will hurt the whole region, not just KC. I challenge those in favor of repealing the e-tax to show me how the lost revenue can be made up before it is entirely phased out.
Stating that the loss of the tax will magically invigorate businesses doesn’t cut it, either. Eliminating the tax will destroy many of the amenities that large locally-based businesses demand. If people start to move out, and the city starts to fall apart, business won’t be reinvigorated. It too will go away.
Many cities get by without an e-tax, this is true. 25 major U.S. cities use one, however. Mostly older cities with worn infrastructure, and without abundant resources or alternative revenues such as large-scale gambling. Kansas City fits that mold. At this point, too much of our budget depends on the tax to simply do away with it. Sure, it would be nice to eventually wean ourselves off a local income tax. Balancing the budget without one is an obvious long-term goal. Right now, however, no viable alternatives or options have been proposed. Eliminating 40% of the general fund will create a gap too large to immediately make up. By the time we figure it out, it may be too late.
Kansas City has a great deal going for it. We have nearly half a million residents in the city proper anchoring a metro of over two million. Multiple Fortune-500 companies, two major-league sports franchises, world-class museums, excellent cuisine, a rich history and culture. This should be maintained, not risked, just because some people don’t want 1% of their income to go to keeping their hometown intact and eventually making it better.