KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The controversy surrounding police funding in Kansas City, Missouri, continues as a local organization speaks out against a Missouri ballot measure on the issue.
Next month Missourians will vote on Amendment 4. If approved, the measure would require Kansas City to increase how much money it gives to the police department.
It’s a discussion FOX4 has been following for months.
Now, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is taking a jab at the amendment.
“The city is getting desperate, and this is the latest evidence of their desperation,” said Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who sponsored the bill in the Missouri Legislature.
If passed, the city would have to spend 25% of its general revenue on KCPD compared to the 20% its required to spend now. Kansas City is the only police department under state control in Missouri and would be the only city affected by this statewide constitutional amendment.
In a recent statement, the chamber explained its reasons for opposing Amendment 4, saying in part:
- “It has been our longstanding policy position that local budget decisions should be decided by local elected officials. This is a decision best left to the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council – not the Missouri General Assembly and a statewide vote.
- “Amendment 4 creates a dangerous exception to the Missouri constitution, which prohibits an increase in the level of any activity or service mandated by the general assembly or a state agency of other Missouri political subdivisions, unless the state pays for any increased costs. If passed, Amendment 4 could lead to other constitutional amendments that harm Missouri’s local governments and taxpayers by creating unfunded mandates on local governments.”
But Luetkemeyer said a vote for Amendment 4 ensures KCPD has its funding, pointing to the council’s actions last year.
“What they’re trying to do right now is they’re trying to go back to the 1930s where they can politicize KCPD’s budget, and if Amendment 4 passes, they’re not going to be able to do that ever again,” Luetkemeyer said.
After the chamber released its statement Thursday, Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his reaction, saying in part, “Kansas City area businesses agree that Missouri Amendment 4 is anti-democratic, making local decisions at a state level, and threatening ultimately to increase our taxes statewide.”
FOX4 reached out to the chamber for further comment on the issue, but a spokesperson said no one would speak on camera.
KCPD responded to the statement, saying: “We do not generally comment on pending legislation that has not passed yet. We will work with the city to determine our final budget and work within the confines of that adopted budget as we always have.”