Sly Says It’s About Public Safety
January 25, 2016

Kansas City Mayor Sly James kicked off the city campaign to renew the earnings tax with a warning, its end could harm the city’s public safety.

“Over the next 10 years, if we have to abandon this tax by a vote, we wlil have to start shaving people very quickly,” the Mayor predicted.

He estimated 800 police officers could be laid off during the 10 year phase out of the earnings tax.

He added about 500 firefighters and emergency medical technicians would be let go as well.

James repeated the often heard figures that the earnings tax makes generates more than $230 million dollars each year for Kansas City. That is 40% of the city’s main operating budget.

Much of that main operating budget, says the mayor, goes to support the police and fire departments.

“I don’t think this mayor or city council would vote to cut public safety spending. I think if you put the question to them, clearly they would day ‘ no ‘,” countered Patrick Tuohey of the Show Me Institute, a critic of the earnings tax.

This Missouri legislature changed the states earnings tax law six years ago.

The change requires Kansas City and St. Louis to ask voters to renew the earnings tax every five years.

78% of the 2011 Kansas City voters supported the earnings tax at that election.

Mayor James says forces in Jefferson City are trying to eliminate the earnings tax in Kansas City and St. Louis for their own political gain.

State Senator Kurt Schaefer has proposed a bill that would abolish the earnings tax immediately. He does not think the tax could stand up in court after a recent US Supreme Court ruling involving a Maryland earnings tax.

Schaefer’s bill, however, is not directly tied to the earning tax renewal vote.

The election is April 5.

Missouri GOP Opts for St. Pat’s Day Presidential Caucus in 2012, Tuohey Remembers How a Mo. Caucus Failed Last Time
September 30, 2011

Leave it to a fine Irishman, Patrick Tuohey, to explain why the Missouri GOP’s announcement of a County Presidential Caucus on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17,2012 is a bad, no, make that AWFUL idea.

From the Missouri Record via TKC:

The chairman of the Missouri Republican State Committee, David Cole, announced that the state party will go to a caucus system to choose presidential delegates for the 2012 election:

A caucus will continue to protect the rights of Missourians to select the Republican nominee for president—and any self-declared Republican who is registered to vote in Missouri has the ability to participate in the caucus process.

The last time Missouri Republicans held caucuses was in the 1996 presidential election. John Brunner, now expected to run for the party nomination for US Senate, then served as Pat Buchanan’s state director. Buchanan, who started his writing career at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, won the state caucus, beating Bob Dole 406 votes to 315.

Ann Wagner was helping the Dole campaign at the time. In 2005 she described the period as “dark days of the Republican Party,” and told the St. Louis Business Journal of the Buchanan victory:

I sat there aghast in the spring of ’96. I couldn’t believe they won. I couldn’t believe the direction the party was going…

I told my husband I was going for a long drive. I said, “When I come back we’ll have that fourth child and I’ll learn to golf; or I’m going to file for office and I’m going to become chairman of the party and we’re going to start winning elections again.”

The rest is history; Wagner climbed to the top of the party establishment—even seeking election as the head of the national party. In fact, Wagner is so established that by comparison she makes her opponent, a former chief of staff to a Republican governor, seem like an upstart political outsider!

Wagner must now play to those same conservative caucus voters whose previous decisions so horrified her. Will these activist voters accept that a career begun to oppose them will now be used to further their objectives?

Touhey: KC School Has Got to Go
September 21, 2011

Patrick Touhey at the Missouri Record starts a new debate the Day After…

The Kansas City School District will lose its Missouri accreditation effective January 1, 2012. This means that a diploma issued by the district will be meaningless in the state. Mind you, a KC district diploma has been meaningless outside the state for years—having already lost accreditation from the North Central Association.

Losing accreditation is an embarrassment, and we’re confident there is lots of blame to go around. Former board president Airick West will bear a lot of the burden, having so irritated Superintendent John Covington that he sought employment elsewhere. It turns out that while West traipsed from event to event telling people he did not want to micromanage the district, he was doing exactly that.

Second, one result of losing accreditation is that students will be permitted to leave the district for another adjacent district which is accredited. Don’t expect the superintendents of those school districts accept this without a fight.

Joe Robertson over at The Star wrote last week that one such result might be a state takeover of the school district. That means this school board might be the last elected board we ever have. Will they have the sense (and shame) to resign?

Arthur Benson did resign, and issued the following statement:

Both the Board and the community failed. We both, the Board and the community, should have shamed the offending Board member off the Board to protect the independence of the Superintendent. We did not. I did not. The community did not. For that I am deeply sorry. It is the biggest regret of my life.

Well, not the biggest regret, apparently. After issuing this statement, Benson regretted his resignation even more, rescinded it and still serves on the board. West, having resigned as president and then regretting it, still serves on the board, too.


Why? Who knows. Maybe they are both eager to be listed in the history books as the last elected school board, and perhaps, the worst school board. Ever.