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Jackson County Legislators May Ditch Tax Proposal Meant To Help Elderly Homeowners

Rebekah Hange
KCUR 89.3
The chair of the Jackson County Legislature, Scott Burnett, says the legislature now believes voters will not pass a tax the legislature proposed for the November ballot.

A new property tax to help seniors stay in their homes seemed like such a good idea in April that the entire Jackson County Legislature co-sponsored the ordinance to put it on the November ballot.

Now it is likely that legislators will repeal the ordinance at its Monday meeting, killing the program before it gets off the ground.

Scott Burnett, chairman of the Jackson County Legislature, says there was little chance voters would approve it.

“It polls so poorly,” he says, “that you couldn’t go to funders” for money to mount a campaign.

The polling was done by Shepherd’s Center Central, according to Burnett. The center provides services to homebound adults.

The plan would boost property taxes in Jackson County to help pay for minor to moderate home repairs.  The owners of a $100,000 house would pay an additional $9.50 a year. In all, the tax would raise $5.3 million a year, the county estimates.

The money would go to various organizations to do specific work on homes.

A Missouri law allows counties to levy such a tax “for the purpose of providing services to persons sixty years of age or older.” Fifty-five other counties have already enacted such a tax.

Burnett, who has been trying for years to pass it, says its likely demise is “very disappointing.”

Sam Zeff is KCUR's metro reporter. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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