A supporter of transit activist Clay Chastain has filed a court challenge to the Kansas City Council’s proposed language for the November ballot.
Richard Tolbert, acting without an attorney, filed court papers this week with the Jackson County Circuit Court asking a judge to strengthen the city’s proposal stemming from a Chastain petition initiative for light rail.
The City Council has agreed to place on the Nov. 4 ballot two questions: one seeking a quarter-cent sales tax for “capital improvements” and another seeking an eighth-cent sales tax for “public transportation purposes.” Chastain and his supporters are upset that the ballot language doesn’t specify that the money would be spent for a light-rail project, as contemplated when Chastain gathered about 4,000 petition signatures back in 2011.
Tolbert argues the city’s proposed ballot language violates the Missouri Hancock Amendment because it doesn’t specify the purpose for the two taxes. He wants the court to order the City Council to adopt a resolution pledging that the money would be used solely for light rail.
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But City Attorney Bill Geary said the city is following a Missouri Supreme Court order and has adopted the ballot language that the Supreme Court said it was required to use.
The Hancock Amendment says any tax increase from a county or other political subdivision requires a public vote of approval.
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