The long-awaited report from the Citizens Commission on Municipal Revenue hit the email box this afternoon. Some highlights:
1) Keep the 1% earnings tax, with no break for low-income payers and no dedication of revenue
2) Trade the 1/4 cent fire sales tax for a 1/4 cent capital improvement tax in 2017, borrowing against the money for immediate infrastructure improvements (with City Hall figuring out how to fill a $16 million hole in the fire dept. budget)
3) Renew existing 1 cent capital improvement sales tax in 2018
4) Repeal boulevard tax; motor vehicle license fee; parkway maintenance tax; trafficway maintenance fee, saving $14 million annually (not all taxpayers pay the fees)
5) Enact new 1/2 cent sales tax for water, parks -- raising $32 million annually, but reducing need for higher utility bills
6) Renew health care property tax for four years if Obamacare upheld; if not, discuss longer extension -- and talk about junk food, sugar, sin tax for health care if needed
7) Enact undefined property tax increase to pay for infrastructure improvements
8) Continue exploring business license tax repeal
In general: The commission's recommendations would simplify tax collections and could mean a reduced burden for some Kansas Citians. But the city's tax structure, already regressive, would arguably become more so if the entire package were enacted.
The commission urges "further discussion" of ways to limit tax impacts on the poor.