The Kansas City, Missouri City Council wants more taxpayer money, much more. Its members recently voted to put three measures on the April ballot asking for nearly a billion in new funding. If approved, this would be the largest general obligation bond authorization in city history.
The first request is for $600 million in bonds to repair streets, bridges, sidewalks and trails. The measure would also transfer responsibility for sidewalk repair from the homeowner to the city. The second request is for $150 million to control flood waters. The third is a mere $50 million for public building improvement and a “first class” new animal shelter.
A property tax increase would, the voter is told, cover the cost of the improvements. According to the City Council, that tax would only mount to a $160 a year over the 20-year period of the bond for a home worth $140,000. But the median price for homes on the market is already $160,000–the average is likely much higher–and one suspects the median will be considerably higher still twenty years from now.
To be sure, these proposals seem a more sensible way to spend money than, say, for an extended street car line or a $ billion-plus new airport terminal, but citizens who cannot send their children to the schools their taxes pay for may be reluctant to add new taxes without some sign of restraint on the part of City Hall. City Hall will need 57.1 percent of their votes to pass this authorization in April. The city can expect resistance.