KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was a tale of two different voting jurisdictions Tuesday when it came to Jackson County’s proposed use tax, or online sales tax.
In Kansas City itself, the use tax passed with 14,455 people voting for it and 8,025 people voting against it.
Outside the city though, it was a different story.
In suburban Jackson County, 9,023 people voted yes, and 26,018 voted no. Ultimately, the suburban votes won out.
There were 10,565 more no votes countywide than there were yes votes. The measure lost by 18% after 59% of Jackson Countians voted no and 41% voted yes.
“I think it is very clear now that eastern Jackson County is very upset as we assumed about this tax situation and rightfully so, but I don’t know that this was the best way to prove that,” Democratic Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday.
Abarca voted yes on the use tax. He said the tax would have been charged to out-of-state companies who sell things to Jackson County shoppers online.
“I think the folks that protest voted against their own interests because this is not a tax that would have been imposed on them,” Abarca continued. “In fact, no one who would have paid the tax could have voted on this.”
Republican Legislator Sean Smith argued that the tax would have just been pushed onto the consumer though. He voted no on the issue.
“The fact is, we’re in a time where people’s cost of living has gone up dramatically with the property tax assessments,” Smith said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.
“A lot of people are seeing higher taxes. People who can least afford it were the last people that I felt like we should be asking for more money from right now.”
The county’s leader was also against the use tax.
“I did vote no, yes,” Democratic Jackson County Executive Frank White said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday. “I think it’s hard to support a tax when you have no input in the tax, so that is the reason I voted no.”
White was also against the timing of the use tax going on the ballot since assessments came out over the summer and property tax bills came out at the end of last month.
Now, some wonder if this vote foreshadows results for the Royals and Chiefs being on a countywide ballot together, especially if the Royals want a downtown stadium in the western part of the county.
“Well, I think that you just have to look at it for what it is,” White said when asked if Jackson County risks losing the Royals to Clay County and the Chiefs to Kansas if he didn’t support a sales tax extension being put on a future ballot for county residents to vote on.
“I’m not a player anymore. I’m an elected official charged with taking care of our community and our taxpayers, and it’s our job to get the best deal with our taxpayers.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas said he wants a clear plan from the Royals as to what they want for their new stadium.
“We need to move forward and that this needs to stop being a two-year long, three-year long saga,” he said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday.
“This is a big city where things are actually getting better all the time. We’re getting a lot of international attention. I saw that in Germany pretty recently, and the way that you capitalize on that is that you keep things going.”
The Jackson County Legislature had to override White’s veto to get the use tax measure on the ballot.
Had it passed, the money generated from it would have gone toward renovations and repairs to the county courthouses, helping the homeless, and road and bridge construction projects.