Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer has taken the next step in his irresponsible bid to cripple Kansas City government and slash public services.
The Republican from Columbia this week introduced a bill to kill the city’s 1 percent earnings tax. He thus served notice that he’s still seething at efforts by Kansas City to pass a higher minimum wage earlier this year, defying his decree not to make such a move.
His legislation should not advance one inch in the General Assembly session starting in January. It would be the height of folly to yank $228 million a year in city revenue — and do it by Dec. 31, 2017.
Schaefer contends the earnings tax — in place for almost 50 years and reaffirmed by city voters in 2011 — is “unconstitutional.” We checked. No court has issued any such ruling.
Just because Schaefer imagines something is true doesn’t make it so.
The senator, who’s running for Missouri attorney general, said that eliminating the tax would lead to a sudden surge in “employment and growth” in Kansas City and St. Louis, the other city with an earnings tax. Hmm. Where have we heard this kind of fiscal nonsense before?
Schaefer should peek over the state line to see how Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts are working out. They aren’t. Revenues have plunged. The budget has been slashed by hundreds of millions of dollars. And annual job growth in Kansas recently has been stuck in the bottom 10 of U.S. states.
What Schaefer didn’t say is what appears to be true: He’s acting in cahoots with St. Louis multimillionaire Rex Sinquefield, a huge enemy of the tax and a large contributor to Schaefer’s campaign.
Kansas City voters are scheduled to go to the polls next April to decide whether to renew the earnings tax for another five years. Mayor Sly James is correct: That’s who should be deciding its fate.
Not a pompous, mean-spirited state legislator from Columbia.