Elections

Voters in metro Missouri counties approve sales and property tax measures

In this 2005 file photo, volunteers for the Jackson County COMBAT anti-violence campaign lined up to pick up signs outside the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church at 2310 Linwood Blvd. before standing at intersections on Prospect Avenue with signs asking drivers to report criminal activity to police. First passed in 1989, the anti-drug and violence prevention COMBAT sales tax ON Tuesday was extended for another nine years.
In this 2005 file photo, volunteers for the Jackson County COMBAT anti-violence campaign lined up to pick up signs outside the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church at 2310 Linwood Blvd. before standing at intersections on Prospect Avenue with signs asking drivers to report criminal activity to police. First passed in 1989, the anti-drug and violence prevention COMBAT sales tax ON Tuesday was extended for another nine years. deulitt@kcstar.com

Area voters on the Missouri side of the metro area looked favorably on five separate tax measures to fund social service programs, public safety and libraries.

First passed in 1989, the anti-drug and violence prevention sales tax known as COMBAT was extended Tuesday for another nine years.

With most of the vote in, the measure was passing with 77 percent approval. The quarter-cent tax, which was set to expire in 2018, was projected to bring in $22.6 million in 2016.

Local law enforcement and social service agencies have come to depend on those funds over the last quarter-century, with more than half of the revenue earmarked for police and other law agencies, and the rest going to dozens of area organizations for drug treatment and prevention.

Voters also passed Question 2, a new sales tax to benefit troubled youth, with 62 percent approval with incomplete results.

Social service agencies serving children look to increase their funding through a one-eighth of a cent sales tax to underwrite a Children’s Services Fund.

The tax will run seven years and is projected to raise $12 million to $15 million annually.

Prior to the measure being put on the ballot, backers said private polling showed solid support for a tax underwriting children’s services. But they were concerned how it would do on a ballot crowded with other tax issues.

Among them was Jackson County Question 3, which, had it been approved, would have ended the collection of county sales taxes on vehicles and boats purchased out of state. Instead, the tax was continued with 61 percent support with only a small number of votes still to be counted.

Government officials and Jackson County auto dealers urged a “no” vote. Ending the tax would have cost the county an estimated $3.6 million and put car dealers at a competitive disadvantage with dealers in Kansas because it would have allowed Jackson County residents to escape sales taxes on vehicles, boats and trailers purchased out of state.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that state sales taxes could be collected only on sales within the state. The Missouri legislature fixed that, but required local governments to get voter approval if they wanted to continuing collecting those taxes.

Also Tuesday, voters in Clay and Platte counties and in portions of Jackson County outside the Kansas City school district were approving a property tax increase for the Mid-Continent Public Library system.

The system asked for a 25 percent increase in its tax levy to build new libraries, renovate existing ones and expand programming and the library’s collection.

The “yes” vote on Proposition L increases the library tax rate from 32 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 40 cents. Taxes on a $100,000 home would increase $15.20 a year.

The measure was passing with 61 percent approval with some votes still to be counted.

Also Tuesday, Lee’s Summit voters approved a $14.5 public safety bond issue. The measure required a 57.14 percent majority to pass, but had was garnering 82 percent approval with most of the vote counted.

With the money, the city plans to upgrade its emergency radio system, build a new fire station and buy new oxygen tanks for firefighters.

Mike Hendricks: 816-234-4738, @kcmikehendricks

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