Go ahead, Kansas City, make our day.
On April 5, voters in Kansas City have a chance, once and for all, to get rid of the earnings tax.
Thank you very much.
On that day, residents of Johnson County — as well as all the other communities that surround Kansas City — can finally get a free ride. What a deal.
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We can take advantage of all the amenities Kansas City offers without getting hit for 1 percent of incomes earned in Kansas City.
Half of the earnings tax revenue is paid by outsiders. Nearly 40 percent of that half comes from Kansans.
You would think Kansas City residents would be rubbing their hands in glee over what they get from outsiders through the e-tax. It is a sweet deal.
But, no, there is a crowd that would rather eliminate the earnings tax and then shift 100 percent of the burden to Kansas City residents and businesses.
Talk about biting off your nose to spite your face.
Oh, Kansas City could opt to raise the sales tax sky high, to help compensate for some of the lost e-tax revenue. But it would also help kill businesses that compete across state lines and across boundaries with other neighboring municipalities.
I, for one, think back to all the earnings taxes I have paid over 25 years for board of directors fees I received from a large Kansas City financial institution. Over that time, I paid a pretty significant amount.
Gee, I wonder whether someone would be nice enough to pass a retroactive refund to those of us who paid our fair share through the earnings tax over the years. If you listen to those who want to eliminate the e-tax, they never needed my taxes in the first place. So, please send me a check for past, unneeded payments, and I will send a thank-you card in return.
There has been only one bistate tax, and that paid for a joint effort to restore Union Station. That tax passed exactly two decades ago. The tax ended when the renovation was complete a few years later.
What voters said then — including 60 percent from Johnson County — was that, indeed, there were appropriate times to cooperate financially with Kansas City.
Critics thought the suburbs would never vote to do their part for the good of the whole. They did.
Since the bistate tax ended, only the earnings tax — and a small amount of sales tax paid when we shop in Kansas City — is what we pay to support the airport, zoo, Sprint Center, Liberty Memorial and, of course, the Truman Sports Complex.
The 125,000 outsiders who go to work in Kansas City each day are doing their part to help maintain amenities that serve the metropolitan area.
There are folks in Johnson County, and elsewhere, who would like me to shut up about this. They think I may be making a case for a tax they despise.
They feel the earnings tax is taxation without representation. And it is.
E-taxpayers who live outside of Kansas City but earn income there get no say about how their taxes are spent. They cannot vote in Kansas City on issues and cannot elect public officials.
It is a one-way street, and it all works to the benefit of Kansas City residents.
So, why in the world would anyone in Kansas City want to toss out a tax that derives half of its revenue from outsiders?
Frankly, it makes no sense whatsoever.
But, hey, if you want to get rid of it, be my guest.
Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist: firstname.lastname@example.org