November 29, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Show-Me: City Math Fuzzy on Go Bonds Costs

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The idea that GO Bonds will cost the average taxpayer $8 additional a year is pure sleight-of-hand.

Patrick Touhey, Western Missouri field manager for the libertarian think tank the Show-Me Institute, has a real problem with the proposed $800 GO Bonds deal that are up for vote on April 4.

Touhey is convinced Kansas City, Missouri, officials are being less than straightforward in explaining the costs to taxpayers. The claim that the average impact to the property tax owner is an $8 increase each year, says Touhey, is decidedly “not true.”

“Based on the City’s own data, the cost of the bond to that property owner would be over $4,100 for the 40-year life of the debt,” adds Touhey.

According to Touhey, the city has had to do some dubious math to arrive at the $8 figure. For one, the $8 represents the average amount of property tax increase each year, not the amount of the tax itself. But even this is misleading.

In addition, to get the average annual increase down to $8, the city had had to play any number of additional accounting tricks and assume that the City will not adopt any more GO Bonds for 40 years.

“Well-meaning people can and do disagree about how best to solve the City’s long-term maintenance problems and whether this GO Bond does enough to address the needs. Laying that aside, the campaign that the city is waging in favor of the GO Bond is a disservice to voters and the democratic process,” said Tuohey.

“The real cost of this bond to the owner of a $140,000 house and $15,000 car is over $4,100 over the 40-year life of this debt,” Touhey continued. “The average annual tax paid over those years—to service this GO Bond—will be $106. Anyone who talks about an $8 ‘average annual increase’ is engaging in financial sleight-of-hand.”

The city is amassing a sizable war chest to sell the deal, much of it from contractors who stand to benefit if the Go Bonds pass on April 4.




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