Two of Johnson County’s smallest cities are asking for big sales tax increases on Nov. 6.
The requests in Mission and Roeland Park are for worthwhile public purposes.
However, they are ill-timed and not worth supporting at this time.
The Star’s recommendations:
- In Mission, voters should say “no” to a three-eighths cent sales tax designed to help pay for parks and recreation projects, primarily to replace the city’s aging outdoor pool.
The city is closer than ever to moving forward with the Mission Gateway economic development project. For years city leaders have said the addition of this project — which will include a Walmart that’s leaving a site in Roeland Park — could bring added shoppers and revenue to Mission.
Yet now the city is seeking to raise sales tax revenue by almost $750,000 a year, including higher taxes at many smaller businesses.
The new sales tax would be 9.15 percent, one of the priciest in the metro area.
If Mission voters reject the tax increase, city leaders could continue to repair their outdoor pool for another year or two, while they wait to see what kind of economic boost the Mission Gateway project really provides.
- In Roeland Park, voters should say “no” to a hefty three-quarter cent sales tax.
The city says it will need the money because Walmart is going to Mission Gateway. The city estimates the move will reduce sales tax receipts by $550,000 a year.
The new sales tax would raise $630,000 annually. It could boost the city’s rate to 9.525 percent, the highest in the area.
However, the city won’t lose the Walmart revenue for at least another year.
If Roeland Park voters kill the sales tax increase, city officials have time to look at ways to trim costs of their government. That should include sharing costs of some services such as public safety with other cities or with Johnson County’s government.
Mission and Roeland Park, in particular, ought to look at ways to cooperate to serve their citizens better, rather than trying to hike taxes on their residents and businesses.