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Tell Somebody

Feb 5, 2013

For a very long time, Kansas City has had a ½ cent sales tax, called the Public Mass Transportation Fund, used primarily to fund the city bus system.  Because that was not enough for the bus system, in 2003 the citizens of Kansas City voted for an additional 3/8 cent sales tax dedicated for the Kansas City Area Transit Authority, the idea being that this would augment the 95% of the existing ½ cent tax being used to fund the KCATA. But the city began drawing off some of the ½ cent tax to other projects, in effect nullifying much of the 3/8 cent tax.

In December 2010, the Kansas City City Council passed ordinance 100951 “directing the City Manager to incrementally increase current appropriations to Kansas City Area Transit Authority beginning May 1, 2010” and amending the City Code of Ordinances such that “at least ninety-five percent of the remaining sales tax for transportation…shall, by May 1, 2014, be appropriated and paid by the City to the Kansas City Area Transit Authority” and stating that “the City Manager is directed to increase the current appropriation to 95% beginning with the budget taking effect on May 1, 2011.”  (emphasis added)

City Manager Schulte and the council ignored this ordinance in 2011 and 2012, and Schulte ignored it yet again in his proposed 2013 budget.  Since this show was recorded, the KC Star reports that $2 million will be peeled off to support the short line downtown streetcar.  As to ordinance 100951 that he has already ignored for a third year now, Schulte was quoted as saying “That ordinance was adopted before the streetcars.  I will ask the city to change the ordinance.”

KC Transit Action Network co-founder Janet Rogers, active in getting the 2010 ordinance passed, is heard on the February 5, 2013 edition of Tell Somebody testifying in favor of restoring KCATA funding at a February 2, 2013 neighborhood budget hearing in Kansas City, and explaining the situation in a subsequent phone interview.

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