Mayor Quinton Lucas says Airbnbs are a 'substantial problem' in Kansas City
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says that millions of dollars in revenue could be generated if voters in April approve taxes on recreational marijuana and short-term rentals. But how would that money be used?
Kansas City voters will be asked on their April ballots whether to tax short-term rentals in the city.
Short-term rentals like Airbnb are exploding in popularity, and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says they have "been a substantial problem in our city."
The Airbnbs are reducing the number of housing options, and some community members have expressed frustration that the rentals are hosting late night parties and producing excessive amounts of trash.
"I do think that we have been too slow," says Lucas. "I think we finally at City Hall said, you know, it's time to act. Importantly, though, that action requires the voters and so that's why we're looking to get it on the ballot as soon as possible."
If approved, short-term rentals would be subject to a 7.5% sales tax and nightly occupancy fee.
Also on the April ballot, voters will weigh in on a 3% legal weed sales tax, on top of the state's 6% cut for recreational marijuana.
"The thought there is a very simple one," says Lucas. "This can be a positive for our communities, for the state of Missouri and for our cities."
If approved, revenue from the sales tax would fund violence prevention, trash cleanup and homelessness services.
"I think it is important for us to start filling the budget gaps that we have on those issues," Lucas says. "And that's why we look to have that addressed in April."
Lucas joined KCUR's Up To Date to discuss the potential tax increases, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Kansas City Police Department and more.