E-Tax Sides Trade Shots
March 28, 2016

With a week left before the voters decide the fate of the Kansas City earnings tax, the campaign grows a little more intense.
Boosters of the earnings tax accused opponents of trying to mislead the voters with a set of campaign flyers being mailed to voters.
One charges that some executives and others with influence avoid paying the full earning tax.
A spokesman for Progress KC, the campaign for the e-tax , Steve Glorioso, says the charge is a lie.
“No one in Kansas City who works here or lives here is exempted from the earnings tax. No one,” he said.
Glorioso stressed the association employees paid the proper amount of e-tax.
“It’s true,’ counter Earnings tax opponent, Woody Cozad.
“For example, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners cut a deal with the city, where they remit only half of the earnings tax for their employees,”.
In September of 2010, the City Council approved allowing the Insurance Commissioner group to keep 50% of its paid earnings tax, in return for keeping the organization’s offices in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Association’s office remains in Kansas City.

Report: KC Considers Public Vote & Private Funding for Animal Shelter
October 19, 2015

(AP) – A preliminary plan to replace Kansas City’s old, outdated animal shelter could include a public vote and private funding, according to city officials.
City Manager Troy Schulte told The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/1NeKt7n ) that other details, including the timing of a bond issue, have yet to be worked out. He said the city could fund the project using public and private money.
City Councilwoman Teresa Loar said the existing shelter, which has been around for 43 years, is “woefully inadequate,” when compared to much larger, newer facilities such as the 28,000-square-foot shelter in nearby Independence that serves half the number of animals that Kansas City does.
“We should be ashamed and embarrassed as a city to call this an animal shelter,” Loar said. She believes citizens would support a modest property tax increase to pay for this and other infrastructure improvements. The cost of a new shelter is unclear, but shelters built elsewhere recently have ranged from $12 million to $15 million.
Kansas City’s animal shelter houses about 400 animals. In 2011, the shelter took in 6,000 animals and euthanized about 30 percent. The shelter now takes in more than 10,000 animals per year and euthanizes about 7 percent.

KCK, Wichita, Dodge City Get Federal Money for Police Body Cameras
September 21, 2015

(AP) – The federal government has awarded grants for law enforcement body cameras to Wichita, Dodge City and Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Monday the U.S. Justice Department grants are among $23.2 million awarded to 73 law enforcement agencies in 32 states to increase the use of body cameras. President Barack Obama has proposed buying 50,000 body cameras for law enforcement agencies in three years.

Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, will receive $352,500; Wichita will get $250,000 and Dodge City will receive $45,205.

Petition Drive To Block KC Minimum Wage Law
July 29, 2015

(AP) – A new group of business owners is gathering signatures on petitions seeking to force a referendum to overturn a new law that will gradually increase Kansas City’s minimum wage to $13 an hour.
Missourians for Fair Wages, which represents restaurant, hotel and other business associations in Missouri, must collect about 3,400 signatures by Aug. 25 to challenge the minimum wage law approved by the Kansas City Council July 16. The law would raise Kansas City’s minimum wage from $7.65 per hour to $8.50 per hour on Aug. 24, with annual increases to $13 per hour by 2020. Cost-of-living adjustments would be made in subsequent years. Workers 17 and younger are exempt from the increases.
If the petition drive is successful, the council would either repeal the ordinance or put it to public vote sometime next year.
Opponents contend the increased minimum wage, which makes Kansas City the only municipality in Missouri with a wage higher than the state’s current $7.65 minimum, will hurt workers because employers will reduce the number of minimum wage jobs. Supporters of the increase say it will help lower-income workers make a living wage and improve the economy by putting more money in people’s pockets.
“The minimum wage ordinance was done quickly and is a risky experiment,” said David Jackson, spokesman for Missourians for Fair Wages. “It has the potential to cause job loss in Kansas City. If you raise the price of employment, you get less of it.”
Supporters of the new minimum wage law are “disappointed to say the least” with the new petition drive, said Caitlyn Adams, deputy director of Missouri Jobs for Justice, a social justice organization that pushed for the wage increase. The petition drive will delay the implementation of the first minimum wage increase on Aug. 24 and could push any increase into the next year if the issue is put to a public vote, she said.

Minimum Wage Advances in KC
July 9, 2015

(AP) – Kansas City’s minimum wage would rise to $13 an hour over eight years under a draft ordinance that has been passed out of a committee of councilmembers.
The councilmembers made no recommendations Thursday on whether the ordinance should be approved when they consider it again July 16. The measure calls for incremental hikes to the current $7.65 an hour minimum wage. Workers would receive their first raise Aug. 24, when businesses with more than 15 employees and $500,000 in annual income would be required to begin paying at least $8.50 an hour.
Workers younger than 18 are among those who would be exempted from the higher wage.
Backers say a wage hike is needed to help workers pay their bills. Opponents say it would cripple businesses and question its legality.