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Kansas City No Longer Target Of Earnings Tax Repeal

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is no longer the target of a conservative Missouri lawmaker who wants to repeal the earnings tax.

Columbia Sen. Kurt Schaefer dropped Kansas City from his bill challenging the earnings tax on constitutional grounds. The bill, which advanced out of committee Thursday, now focuses solely on St. Louis.

Mayor Sly James credits a strong showing of Kansas Citians in support of the earnings tax for getting Schaefer to back down. James and others testified in Jefferson City earlier this month.

“What I said when I was there for the hearing was I’m not here asking you for a penny, all I want you to do is leave us alone,” James said.

The battle over the earnings tax isn’t over, though. City leaders still have to sell a renewal of the 1 percent tax to voters before the April municipal election. In 2011, voters overwhelmingly approved keeping the earnings tax. State law requires a vote every five years.

“What it does is allow us to focus more of our energy on that aspect than going to argue with the legislature,” James said.

Though the mayor said he’s relieved Kansas City has been excluded from Schaefer’s push to do away with the earnings tax, he’s not convinced Missouri lawmakers won’t meddle on other issues.

“This is a constant and ongoing issue with the state legislature, them thinking that they know how to run Kansas City or St. Louis better than the people who were elected and live in Kansas City and St. Louis,” James said.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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