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Fri March 22, 2013
Mayor, Some On Council Wary Of Sales Tax Overuse
The Kansas City city council gave a preliminary okay to two new community districts on Main just south of the Plaza yesterday. But there were some members were concerned that sales-tax-financed development could be getting out of hand.
Special tax districts, like the one for the downtown streetcars, rely on extra sales tax. Legislators propose sales tax increases for roads and to offset income tax cuts. And Kansas City has more than 30 community improvement districts (CIDs) that also rely on extra sales tax for things like lighting, curbs and landscaping.
Some predict that soon the sales tax in some areas could top 15 percent, and Mayor Sly James says it's nearing a tipping point.
The mayor acknowledged that the CIDs are effective and trendy. But, he added, "Frankly, we're going to have more CIDs than houses pretty soon if we don't watch what we're doing. And we just can't just have taxes all over the place or the city will never be able to do the things that the city needs to do.”
The council voted to proceed with the two new special sales tax districts, planned long before the rush to sales taxes, but the mayor and some other council members believe it's time to start using fewer sales taxes and more tax breaks.