Archive for March 2011

The E-Tax from someone else’s eyes   2 comments

As I read Tony’s Kansas City, I was so appalled by a comment that I ran into this morning that I had to make it into a blog post. (Here’s the comment)

Hi. I’m 4:51. I live in Pendelton Heights. I went to Bales Baptist Church at 12th and Bales for 15 years. My Grandpa, Mother, Father, 3 Aunts, and Grandma all graduated from Northeast Highschool. Two of those Aunts still live in Scarritt. Do you want my social security number and address? I’m not a liar, nor am I a dumba**. But you know what I am? A f**king voter in KCMO. You’re not. I don’t give two sh*ts if you don’t want to pay this tax. KCMO and I are going to cast our votes in favor of, f**k you jackass

It’s sad that today in Kansas City, and in 24 other cities in this great country, we have lost the sight on one of the grievances that started the American Revolution, “Taxation without Representation”.  As James Otis famously put it, “taxation without representation is tyranny.” So the question of the week is, are your city services worth tyranny? Secondly, do you ever except these people who we are committing tyranny against to ever pass a regional tax to improve the transit system in this area?

The conversations in many ways have been slanted when it comes to services. I don’t think the people who come over here would have a problem paying .25% E-tax for the services they use if they had a vote or some representation in the matter. Here are a few examples of where they have valid points as to why they shouldn’t have to pay the E-tax. First, why should people from surrounding areas contribute to the removal of my trash off 12th and Prospect, I didn’t know they were using this service. Second, why should they contribute to indigent care at Truman, when they don’t qualify to use this service?  Third, why should they pay for our parks when they don’t use them? Fourth, why should someone who is here in Kansas City for 8 to 10 hours a day contribute the same amount to fire and police as a permanent resident does?  These few examples show some of the serious flaws in the E-Tax.

Here’s a concept for the likes of KC Alive and the person who left this comment. Kansas City should learn how to act neighborly. Being neighborly goes both ways. Kansas City leaders complain that they’re stealing our companies and jobs, but we’re not being neighborly by making these people pay for our trash and indigent care which they are not using.  So if this tax passes, don’t moan and groan if they continue to do right by their citizens and steal our companies because it’s all about them. To the leaders of Kansas City, if you don’t like it get your own star bonds!!!

So as April 5th approaches, I ask you to do something for the region of Kansas City. Think about the region as a whole. We have some pressing issues in this city, like improving the transit system of our area, and we cannot do it without a regional tax. Let’s stand up as citizens and do what’s right by our neighbors. It’s not fair that they have to pay for my trash service and other services that they don’t use that the E tax provides. Finally, one last thought to leave you with, the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” One day we will need our neighbors to carry this great city forward.

From Alphonzo Miller a KCMO resident off 12th and Prospect


Posted March 31, 2011 by mdavis4kc in Uncategorized

Why to Vote no on the E-Tax it’s not fair   13 comments

Although I am a participating member on the Anti-Earnings Tax (E-Tax) campaign, I am an affected person who lives in Kansas City, Missouri.  The E-Tax is an income tax taken out of a person’s paycheck in addition to federal and state income taxes.  I want to employ a common sense approach to the E-Tax debate by viewing it as a citizen who lives in the inner city.

The people who really pay the E-Tax are citizens who can scarcely afford it in a declining economy. Let us start with a few real life examples of the people in my neighborhood,

  • A mother of three who earns $20,000 a year pays $200 a year in earnings tax.  In real life, this equals out to four (4) monthly bus passes to get her to and from work every day.
  • My aunt is a hard working state employee, who makes between $25,000 to $30,000 a year.  She would pay roughly $300 a year in earnings tax.  Her deductible for health insurance is $300 and she has had a recent bout of illness.  With major expenses like a mortgage, a car payment, regularly living plus the co-pay to see her physician, that 1% would make a big difference in her life.

The E-Tax may not have been on the radar screen had the economy been in a better place, but we are in a tough economy, where the working class in struggling just to make it.  In some parts of the City, 1% can mean a month’s worth of gas or electricity during the winter.  In both of the examples given, the working class is greatly affected by the amount of money taken out of their paychecks each pay period.

Based on the City’s own website, the tax is not levied against interest, dividends, capital gains, and pensions, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security or Disability.  Recipients who fall in any of those categories (i.e. elderly people on Social Security, people on SSI, the unemployed, retirees or people who get money from their 401K’s) do not have to pay anything.  Honestly, I do not have a problem with anyone who falls in any of these categories, but I do have problem when these persons vote on a tax that they do not share responsibility in.  Two examples can best describe what I am talking about,

  • On a recent campaign trail, Mr. Mahlon Davis and I met a mayoral candidate who openly bragged that he did not pay the E-Tax because he lived off dividends from stock and interest payments.  This is a person of means, a voter that has the right to say yes for the E-Tax while not having to pay a dime of E-Tax.
  • Furthermore, what about former state and city employees like city directors and judges who receive huge pensions?  Care of the Kansas City Star’s article on 12/11/10, we find that known community personalities like Marcia Walsh, who receives a annual pension of $76,093 or the Honorable James A. Reed, who receives an annual pension of $52,623  and what about the illustrious former KCMO mayor, Emanuel Cleaver, who receives an annual pension of $21,106.  None of these people pay one dime of E-Tax.

As a resident of the inner city, I ask the question is the inner city receiving the “services” that they pay for?  The City says that it does not have the money to demolish eyesores like abandoned homes and overgrown lots, yet they can find a million dollars to put up some Christmas lights on Barney Ellis Plaza.  Meanwhile parks on the east side of Troost are overrun with tall grass and weeds, tennis court surfaces have not been resurfaced in years and there are deep holes in the asphalt on basketball courts.  Yet the parks near the Plaza, Waldo and North of the River are kept in immaculate condition.  Does the inner city pay less in taxes than other communities do?  If not, why does inner city parks look different than the ones near the Plaza, Waldo and North of the River?  How about services such as snow removal, do you remember the winters of 2010 when it took forever to get our streets plowed?  One of the original reasons why the E-Tax was passed was for free trash removal and it included free trash bags.  Over the years, the free trash bags have stopped, and you now have  to pay an additional fee for extra trash bags after the first two, the citizen has never seen a refund, a tax break or a decrease in their E-tax since they decreased this service.  It would help if our City leaders would not use the money for extravagances like $1 million for Christmas lights on Barney Ellis Plaza and ask those businesses reaping the benefits of that area to foot the bill.

If the citizens decide that they do not want the E-Tax any more, there would be a removal of $20 million a year for the next 10 years and not an immediate $200 million all at once.  In that time, we can try ideas like the privatization of services like trash.  Last year, Kansas City, Missouri spent $11.1 million dollars in trash collection alone. Oceanside, CA, a city one-third the size of Kansas City privatized their trash collection and had a savings of over $1.7 million a year.  This may sound small but Oceanside, CA is 3 times smaller than Kansas City, Missouri, so the savings would be 3 times larger here. If we privatize trash it will cost each resident, yes, but with experts calling for gas to reach $5 a gallon in the area of about the next 2 years, the next vote will be for the E –Tax to be moved to 1 and half or 2 percent so you’re going to pay for your trash one way or another.   We can also look at other ideas like managed competition, which would allow private entities to compete against city agencies for the right to service the city in different areas.  Big problems deserve big solutions and Kansas City, Missouri has big problems.  If Mr. Davis and I could come up with a few ideas like the ones mention above then why can’t leaders in City Hall come up with a few alternatives?

Recently encountered attacks on the Anti-Earnings Tax (E-Tax) Campaign by various city publications and media entities have alluded to the reduction of a thousand police officers. I ask the opposition to tell me when this event would happen, as this tax would take 10-years to phase out.  Crime is a result of action and requires a certain amount of personal responsibility of citizen who chose to participate in this activity.  It is time that our community realizes that its crime problem is a matter of personal responsibility and no amount of police will solve it.   Correction of issues like education and the lack there of or economic development in the urban core will never happen until the black community takes responsibility for itself. With over 105+ murders the past three years and only a 41% percent homicide solved rate in 2010, this will continue embolden criminals unless we strengthen ourselves from the inside out in the community itself.   In 2007 Kansas City, Missouri’s Deputy Chief of Police, Kevin Masters, understood this fact when he asked the question “How as a police officer can I keep two people who know each other from arguing?” When 81 percent of the violence is based on an argument, and 75 percent know each other, I don’t know that there’s a lot I can do.”

We are in a regional battle for jobs, companies and our tax base and we are losing the war.  We have already lost the Wizards and maybe in the process of losing AMC Entertainment.   If our leaders don’t stop the bleeding, Kansas City will look like the former Motor City called Detroit, Michigan, a once affluent city of success is now an abandoned heap of bricks.   Critics of this campaign concentrate on raising questions about funding sources rather than the merits of tax.  Why because they know that Kansas Citians are being lied to.  The facts are these:

  • The people who really pay this tax are those people who can scarcely afford to do so.
  • The rich, the retired and other special groups do not pay a dime.
  • Most of our most prominent leaders telling the masses to approve this tax live E-Tax free.
  • The inner city does not receive City services in the same manner as other outlying communities and does not get what it pays for.
  • There is no compelling reason for our city leaders to look for innovations and new ways of doing business. When they receive a blank check every day that the E-tax is collected.
  • Crime is a people problem and hiring more cops is not the answer besides phasing out the E-Tax will take 10 years at a rate of $20 million dollars a year.
  • If Kansas City does not improve its present business climate, then it will lose its businesses to surrounding neighbors in Raytown, Independence, Lee’s Summit and Johnson County.

I would like to invite my fellow citizens to ask questions and get informed about this topic.  There will be an E-Tax Facts and Fallacies meet and greet event on March 28, 2011 at Papa Lews (2128 East 12th Street, KCMO) from 3-5 PM.  The first 20 people will receive a free dinner while in attendance.  The last two meetings will take place at the LH Bluford Library at 31st and Prospect on March 30th from 5-8PM and at the Waldo Library at 75th and Grand on March 31, 2011 from 3-5 PM.  Agree or disagree, I welcome the dialogue because the time for hard decisions is now.

Posted March 24, 2011 by mdavis4kc in Uncategorized