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An editorial by Alderman Greg Walters opposing the user tax

Reprinted FROM THE Kansas City Star OCTOBER 29, 2021

Raytown Voters do not need to handThe following is a Guest Editorial by Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters. It was originally published on Ocober 29, 2021. Mr. Walters is serving in his 30th year as a member of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. He also publishes a weekly news/blog named the Raytown Report since 1997. The Raytown Report can be accessed at www.raytownreport.blogspot.com

over a blank check in Sales Use Taxes 

On Tuesday Raytown voters will decide the fate of a new 2.5% Sales Use Tax. This Band-Aid approach of slowly ratcheting up the cost of living with a new sales tax is deeply flawed.

Pro tax forces have run a campaign of misinformation to persuade voters to buy into this unfair and regressive tax increase.  They complain inflation is costing the city tax dollars, particularly in franchise tax fees.

That is nonsense.

Franchise taxes in Raytown are paid for by homeowners and businesses when they pay utility bills. These taxes are assessed on how much you pay for electricity, natural gas, telephone service (cell and landline), and cable services. Franchise taxes are tied directly to inflation. If the cost of your service goes up, so does the franchise tax you pay.

All sales taxes are tied directly to inflation as well. For instance, the more you spend on groceries, the more the city makes. The pro tax people claim the city has had declining revenues. That is simply not true.

In fact, in 2019/2020 (at the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic) the city actually had a banner year. Sales tax revenues have remained robust into 2021. Because of inflation, city tax revenues will continue to rise.

Real estate and personal property tax revenue is on the rise as well. Want proof? Check out the increase of what homes are selling for in the Raytown area. There is a housing shortage. Demand has driven prices up. Higher values means more real estate tax revenue for the city.

Another falsehood being spread by the pro-tax people is that this new Sales Use Tax is a tax on internet retailers.

That is extremely misleading.

If this Sales Use Tax passes purchases from out of state internet sellers would be charged an additional 2.5%. The vendor does not pay the tax.

As with all sales taxes, the vendor acts as an agent for the taxing entity. The retailer remits the sales tax collected to the State of Missouri. The state redistributes the tax collected to local governing entities.

An interesting fact about the Sales Use Tax is that less than half the cities in the State of Missouri collect it.

There is also a question of what is fair and equitable for Raytown taxpayers.

The Use Tax is a regressive tax.

It hurts those most who have the least. It is a financial drain on low and fixed income households as compared to those with higher incomes.

A seatmate of mine on the Raytown Board of Aldermen, Derek Ward, has suggested the city should look at Municipal Bonds.

A Better Way.

Municipal Bonds would raise more money, more quickly, than levying a Sales Use Tax on Raytowners. Best of all, it would jump start long overdue improvements to city streets, particularly in our neighborhoods.

What Raytown really needs is more accountability from its elected leaders. The proposed 2.5% Sales Use Tax provides none.

All the money collected under the proposed Sales Use Tax will go into the general fund. No earmarks for improving our city’s infrastructure. No money set aside for improvements to neighborhoods.

A Municipal Bond is different because the money from bonds can only be spent on what the voters are promised.

Such bonds are valuable because they are enforced by Bond Covenants that are iron clad.

If voters approve the Sales Use Tax there is no guarantee where the money will be spent.

Therefore, no accountability.

It would be accurate to say you are writing a blank check to City Hall. Those blank checks to City Hall have not worked in the past.

Those blank checks will not work now.

VOTE NO Sales Use Tax

Special Election

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Better yet, Vote No and remind your neighbors, friends and family to do the same.

Please note my new email address:     greg@serviceprintingandgraphics.com

Greg Walters

Service Printing & Graphics, Inc.

1146 Harrison

Kansas City, MO 64106



816-842-9068      office

816-517-6852      cell

816-842-4763      fax

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