Mayor’s State of the City Address focuses on earnings tax; residents say crime is top concern

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mayor Sly James delivered the State of the City Address at the Uptown Theater on Tuesday.

The mayor emphasized the city's need for the one-percent earnings tax, which is up for voter renewal in April.

"The entire Kansas city area loses without the earnings tax. What would it take to replace the earnings tax if we were to lose it? We would need a combination of massive tax increases, or a massive tax and a single tax source like doubling of sales taxes or tripling of property taxes... things that we can't even do under Missouri law to fully replace the $230 million that the earnings tax generates today," the mayor said.

The mayor has spoken in the past about the importance of the city's earning tax.   If it is not renewed  he said the city may also have to cut its way to the $230 million generated by the tax.

He says that would mean cutting 200 employees per year for ten years. More than half of those cuts would be police officers and firefighters, according to Mayor James.

"That means we'll continue to have to make some tough budgetary decisions. That doesn't scare me or make me uncomfortable. If I wanted to be loved every day I would have opened a pet store, but I wanted to lead so I ran for mayor," he said.

Last week the mayor talked about the city budget, which he said shows the city's investment in neighborhoods and making sure young people have summer jobs.

Mayor James also pushed for redevelopment of the airport.

"It seems to me that if we're guided by facts and data, not politics and ideology then decisions are usually pretty clear, which brings me to the airport. Doing nothing is not an option for another critical part of Kansas City, the passenger terminals at KCI," he said.

Look for more on the State of the City on FOX 4 newscasts and refresh this page for online updates.