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E-Tax: No Hair's Breadth

E Tax backers intent on returns at Union Station watch gathering. Bonnie Smith (R).
photo by Dan Verbeck
E Tax backers intent on returns at Union Station watch gathering. Bonnie Smith (R).


Kansas City, MO – It wasn't even close!!

The vote to keep or kill off Kansas City's Earnings Tax ended in a smashing victory for the 'save it' side.

The winning margin was better than 3 to 1 and it only needed a simple majority. On the other hand, voter turnout appeared relatively low. But it was still higher than the city election last month.

KCUR's Dan Verbeck was following returns with the side that won.

The Clay County vote was crucial.

Retaining the tax wasn't seen as too popular there. So when it began winning hugely and early on, pro-tax campaign man Pat Gray turned attention to heart of the city, telling tax supporters amid cheers--" we're at 76 or 77 percent overall." Which is close to where it wound up, to keep the tax in place.

In 35 years managing local campaigns, Gray can't recall that kind of winning margin.

His tactics painted loss of the tax, and its $200 million a year as a death knell to the city.

On the losing side, run under the name "Freedom Pac," front man John Cozad said in a statement that--" a small minority of Kansas Citians choose to continue with a tax that's driving small businesses out."

The original anti-e tax drive came from Eastern Missouri. City Councilman Scott Wagner took note with this comment. "It is a great success. And we have sent our message to St. Louis tonight. And that is, butt out."

The margin of vote favoring the one percent tax has multiple political observers thinking the city has good ammunition to ask the general assembly to allow the next vote on an e tax to be extended as far as 20 years.

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