Mayor Sly James warns new tax bill could hurt future urban development

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As tax reform takes one step closer to reality, Kansas City’s mayor warns this new tax bill will hurt future urban development – and put the new airport project at risk.

This new tax bill would eliminate two types of bonds – one of which Kansas City has used to help pay for big projects such as water and sewer upgrades, the Zoo, Liberty Memorial and the Sprint Center. The other bond called the Private Activity Bond is expected to be used to help pay for the new KCI.

Both bonds have saved the city and developers tens of millions of dollars over the years and if they go away with this new tax bill, Mayor James says it would significantly raise the cost of building a new KCI. That could put the future of this project into question.

Mayor James published an open letter to Congress Thursday urging them to reject the new tax bill proposal. The new tax bill would also eliminate the state and local income tax deduction – so you would end up paying taxes on the taxes you pay. Mayor James says that would raise the tax bill for many, making it harder to own a home.

While Mayor James is against this new tax plan, others see a lot of benefits for Kansas Citians.

Standard deductions would be doubled, child tax credits would go up and businesses would pay less in taxes. Congress is doing this to simplify the tax code, and it’s the first major tax overhaul in more than 30 years.

The bill passed by the House will no doubt change as the Senate tries to pass its own version of tax reform.

But in the end, Mayor James hopes any new tax bill will preserve the tools needed to help Kansas City continue to grow.