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. http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/kcs-sweet-pension-deal-politicians-judges/#ixzz1HTHAifCw

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.

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Posted March 24, 2011 by mdavis4kc in Uncategorized

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

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  1. Uh. Sorry about your basketball court. And you were thinking city services might be improved if they have less money to work with? Right on. That’s pretty insane sounding.

  2. “Rich people don’t pay a dime.” Straight up lie folks.

    •”The inner city does not receive City services in the same manner as other outlying communities and does not get what it pays for.”

    And where is this information coming from? Half of the earnings tax pot that we will lose filters in from outside of city limits. The Urban Core will be effected in the worst way as we will lose all the services that the suburbs have assiseted us in paying through their 1% that they earn within city limits.

    -Paying for privatized trash will not save the citizens of KC a DIME! Private companies will have the freedom to jack those prices to whatever they want.

    This is the most misleading full of garbage blog I’ve read on this subject. You should be ashamed of yourself, and maybe I’ll see you at one of your BS meetings so that someone with an honest bone in their body will be there to answer questions with FACTS.

    • Anna you may want to review the pdf at the link provided particularly the exemptions. While from 2007 I doubt much if anything has changed.

      http://www.kcmo.org/idc/groups/citymanager/documents/citymanagersoffice/earningtax.pdf

    • Anna, any anyone else, please don’t be misled by the scare tactics levied by organizations such as Save KC. They state that the police, fire, etc organizations will be cut as a scare tactic to solicit the yes vote. Organizations such as Save KC mislead all the time. For example, As I recall, the casino vote relied on the premise that the revenue was to be used for education. What happened after gambling passed? Sure, the revenue from casinos were directed to education, but then the general revenues that were then directed for education were redirected to the general fund for a net result of $0 added to the education budget, so, the general populace was misled into believing that casino revenue was to “add” to the education budget while, in reality, intending to add to the general fund. The only way to get it passed was to appeal to the voters core desires for education for their children. I don’t believe for a minute that the effort to pass casinos were actually intended for education any more than I believe that recission of the E-Tax will harm police and fire to the extent that the Save KC organization would have us believe. If the E-tax fails, all KC departments would be denied a portion, and, just like the rest of us financially responsibly persons, KC must live within a budget, regardless of whether it is enhanced or reduced.
      If this tax continues, I may choose to retire elsewhere.

  3. The E-Tax is wasted money. It does not go for services.
    Vote No E-Tax. Voting No on the E-tax allows the Kansas City Voters decide where the money will be spent. Voting No will HELP the urban Core because the money will go where the voters say dor services NOT political favors.

    • Pat, Its interesting you brought up the voting aspect of the E-tax. I lived in Raytown for 14 years and worked in the east bottoms so I was required to pay the E-tax. When listening to news reports over the years, I was glad I didn’t live in KC, but was always incensed that I had to pay KC taxes and was denied a voice, a vote on how it was spent. How can a city impose a tax upon a person who has no voice in either the imposition of such tax or how it is spent? Well, that’s the E-tax. Would KC levy its 1% on President Obama if he were to appear for the day? After all, isn’t he working while he appears here? Sports figures are required to pay the 1% while they appear for the games in which they play, so why not Obama? I’d like to see the KC tax collector appear on the steps of the White House and ask Mr. Obama where his City Tax Form is, why it wasn’t filed, and then try to levy a penalty plus interest on the unpaid amount. Do either President Obama or any sports figures get a vote on how their money is spent? No, just like the rest of us, no voice, no vote. Taxes should be imposed upon those who have a voice on how much, how often, and especially how to eliminate and not on those who have no voice. State taxes, I vote for my representative, Federal Taxes, again, I vote for my representative, City taxes, without residency, no voice. Fair? I hardly think so.

  4. Regarding your parks in nice areas comment, Loose Park south of the Plaza and those along Ward Parkway are paid for from a trust fund, not city taxes. Some rich dude set aside a trust fund to pay for the upkeep to those parks.

  5. Man I feel sorry for your Aunt and that Mother of 3 because they are going to be paying a hell of a lot more in taxes (such as property taxes, utility taxes and paying for trash service). Someone should let them know you aren’t working for their best interest, your working against them.

  6. Pat, the money DOES in fact go to city services. And Voting no on the e-tax won’t give us any say on how the remaining budget will be spent. There will just be LESS MONEY to work with.

    • I think I must respond the biggest problem is that as a city we are on the brink of the baby boomers retiring. In the E Tax system retirees don’t pay this tax so 10 or 15 years we will have a big problems on our hands we can kick the problem down the curb or address it now. I don’t know where we got lost as people we need to do what’s best for our kids and grandkids not us. If we have to sacrifice a little for the best interest in future generations of the city so be it…

  7. The money is there
    It’s being misspent.
    It’s going for failed tif projects, proposed Hotels we do not need, and it’s chasing jobs to Kansas and hurting the KCMO economy.

  8. VOTE NO E-TAX .

  9. The money generated from the e-tax is not wasted. It goes to pay for the personnel and operations of our police force, FireFighters, EMT’s and other important vital programs. It ensures that someone is there to answer when you call 911. It makes sure that streets are drivable by fixing potholes and removing snow.

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