Thursday, April 3, 2008

KC's April 8 Election Answers - No, Yes, No

Never afraid to let our opinions go unspoken, we thought we'd weigh in on Kansas City's upcoming election. The election will feature some highly contested issues and it is important that Kansas Citians make the right decisions.

First up, question 1:
Shall the City of Kansas City continue a city sales tax for the purposes of developing, operating, maintaining, equipping and improving a bus transit system by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority for Kansas City, Missouri, as authorized by Section 94.605 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri at a rate of 3/8% for a period of 15 years?

No. When first passed, the 3/8% tax was supposed to be temporary, giving the KCATA time to get a system up and running that could be self maintained. Not only have they failed on that promise, but the KCATA has made every effort to circumvent the will of the people and kill a light rail plan that was overwhelmingly passed by KC voters in 2004. KC voters should vote NO on question 1. Let them come back with a shorter term than 15 years or provisions that would allow a redirection of the tax revenue to go towards the funding of a light rail project when it is approved by the city.

Question 2:
Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri be authorized, for the purpose of reimbursing the City for administrative expenses related to the regulation and inspection of short term loan establishments and the issuance of permits for such businesses, to impose an annual fee of $1,000.00 for each permit (new or renewal) for a short term loan establishment or $500.00 for a permit issued with less than 6 months remaining in the calendar year?

Yes. Short term loan establishments, or payday loan/cash advance crooks as we like to call them, are sorely under regulated. We're definitely for the city forcing those businesses that pray on poor consumers to force those businesses to pay for their own regulation and not putting those costs on tax payers.

Question 3:
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit smoking in enclosed places of employment, enclosed public places and on public sidewalks abutting acute care hospitals, while allowing it in casino gaming areas until all casinos located in the Missouri counties of Jackson, Platte and Clay, and the Kansas counties of Johnson and Wyandotte are obligated by ordinance, statute or law to prohibit smoking within the casino areas where gambling games are allowed, as set forth in Ordinance No. 080073, for the purpose of promoting public health by decreasing citizen’s exposure to secondhand smoke and creating smoke free environments for workers and citizens through regulation in the work place and all public places?

No. Fact, smoking in bars and restaurants has already been banned before 9:00 pm. Fact, smoking at the sports complexes has already been restricted to the ramps. A yes vote would not only take away the private property rights of small business owners, but it would allow smoking in casinos indefinitely and open up smoking in the stadiums to the concourses where children are.

We at tKC are against any laws or amendments that take away our liberties and there are few liberties that are more precious than our personal property rights.

If we were to support any kind of federally mandated ban, it would be a ban that treats all people and entities under the law equally. A ban of smoking indoors should include all businesses, not exclude the ones owned by the very rich.

We also feel it is also unethical to outlaw the use of a product that is perfectly legal to purchase. We'd like to see some registered Kansas City voters, who'd really want to make a statement, draft an amendment, get the necessary signatures to get it on the ballot in November, that would outlaw the cell of tobacco and tobacco related products inside the city of Kansas City until the time in which smoking bans are removed from local businesses.

Here's a sample question:
Shall the City of Kansas City prohibit the sale of tobacco and tobacco related products, for the purpose of promoting public health by decreasing citizen’s exposure to first and secondhand smoke and creating smoke free environments for workers and citizens through regulation, until all businesses located in the Missouri counties of Jackson, Platte and Clay, and the Kansas counties of Johnson and Wyandotte are authorized by ordinance to permit the lawful use of tobacco products within their establishments?


Anonymous said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are wrong about the bus tax renewal. It was set to expire in 2009 because the bright eyed idealist thought SmartMoves would be implimented. That the big metro wide transit plan everyone but Kansas loved. The bus company thought there would be a regional tax going to a vote before the 3/8 expired. (Thanks Kansas!!!!)

The bus system need that money because tax revenues where getting cut. Missouri took away over $1 million and KCMO revenue was goind down, down, down. (Thanks TIF!!) This tax money was needed largely to keep the system afloat, but they also added service.

Clay was trying to highjack a tax that is already spoken for and needed very much!!

Anonymous said...

The bus tax should have only been used to get the system up. Then the bus system should have to support itself. Heck, I bet if you gave the 3/8 percent tax to 800 cabbies, since the ATA employs 800 people, we'd have better, quicker, and lower cost transportation for the poor.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how much whining is going on about a transit system that only get $76 million a year and runs as well as it does. I'm from St. Louis. Do you know how much tax money they get a year? OVER $200 million!!!! If you want light rail here, that is where this is heading. Kansas City is way behind in public transit because you won't open you dang wallets.

James said...

I'd open my wallet for light rail. I love St. Louis's. Use it all the time when I am over there.

The problem with the bus system here is it is never where you need it, when you need. In NKC, you have to leave work by 3 to catch the bus home, if you want to avoid parking and take the bus to the Sprint Center, forget about it.

The only thing we've seen the KCATA do right is the Royals bus. Park free in the City Market, pay $5 to get to the K and get $5 off your ticket. That's a great marketing strategy for the Royals and great way to get sports fans to help fund the bus.

Why doesn't the ATA come up with more deals like that, like a westport/p&l bus for the joco and northlanders for example.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to tell you that your are in the minority as a Northland rider. They put the bus were people will ride it. Even had a Royals bus ran up North but no one rode it. Therefore, they stopped running it.

As for other cities, the Metro only goes to where they are paid to go. Most of the money comes from KCMO so KCMO gets most of the service. If you live in another city, like Gladstone or Independence, talk to your city hall because they can contract for more service.

As for you opening your wallet for light rail and not the bus, you are choosing style over function. I think we should make more bus only lanes and put in more MAX buses. Those are flexible and cheaper. With bus only lanes, buses would be faster and a more attractive option.

James said...

I disagree. I think light rail is a safer, cheaper alternative to busses. Buses breakdown, they block traffic, they require huge staffs, etc.

And no one rides the bus up north because there are no decent routes and pickup times. Just look at the Jo... thousands of Johnson Countians take the Jo everyday to work and home... the KCATA leaves KC north in the dark.

The still won't explain why there is a route on Grand except when you need it, like for Sprint Center events. It makes no since, the time when people would use it the most and they could charge a premium to riders and make money, they shut it down. That's the kind of business sense that keeps them needing the 3/8 percent sales tax which was supposed to be temporary.