KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The April 4 municipal election is now here, and Kansas City residents will see three questions on the ballot when they head to the polls.
All three ask voters about establishing taxes and fees for different products and services in Kansas City. Two of the questions directly impact short-term rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo.
Missouri registered voters are able to absentee vote without an excuse beginning March 21 for the primary election. Then polls will open at 6 a.m. April 4 and close at 7 p.m.
Before you cast your vote, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what to know about the Kansas City ballot questions:
The first question on Kansas City ballots asks about a local tax on recreational marijuana sales. Kansas City is one of over 30 cities and counties in the metro asking with this issue up for a vote.
Kansas City leaders are asking voters to approve a 3% local tax on recreational marijuana. There is already a 6% state tax on recreational marijuana, and both these taxes, if the local tax is approved, would be in addition to the existing sales tax.
There’s also a chance Jackson County voters approve a 3% countywide marijuana tax, which means marijuana customers in Kansas City could see nearly 23% in taxes.
Local taxes would not apply to medical marijuana purchases, and the state will keep its 4% tax rate for anyone with a medical card.
Over five years, Kansas City expects $300 million worth of marijuana to be sold within its borders, and leaders estimate the local tax could eventually add up to $10 million a year in revenue for Kansas City.
“We need to make sure that some of that funding is going to address things like homelessness, mental health, trash issues in our city and violence prevention,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told FOX4.
The marijuana tax ballot question will read:
“Shall the City of Kansas City impose an additional sales tax of three percent (3%) on the retail sale of adult use non-medicinal marijuana for the exclusive purpose of providing neighborhood quality of life improvements, to fund through the Department of Health, refuse and neighborhood cleanup services, homeless prevention services, and violence prevention services administered by the City?”
The Kansas City Council wants to address short-term rentals after a city audit found only 11% of current short-term rentals have the necessary permits. It’s cost the city roughly $1 million in revenue.
“Do you want your entire neighborhood overrun by a bunch of folks that are basically using quiet single-family residential neighborhoods like hotels?” Lucas asked.
The second question on Kansas City ballots will ask voters if they want to create a 7.5% tax to all lodgings, including short-term rentals, that aren’t already included in the city’s convention and tourism tax.
The new tax would treat traditional hotel rooms and short-term rentals in the same way. The tax would apply to those operating and using short-term rentals, not all residents across Kansas City.
The short-term rental tax question will read:
“Shall the City of Kansas City impose a Transient Boarding and Accommodation Tax of seven and one-half percent (7.5%) to all lodging establishments, including short-term rentals, not otherwise subject to the City’s Convention and Tourism Tax?”
The third question will also impact short-term rentals in Kansas City, this time asking voters to increase the cost on their licensing fees.
Voters will decide whether or not the city adds a $3 license fee onto each sleeping room rented out, per day.
This would apply to both hotels and short-term rentals. Hotels and motels already see a $1.50 fee, so this ballot question would only increase that, if approved.
The licensing fee question will read:
“Shall the City be authorized to impose the following license fee for the purpose of funding convention and tourism activities:
Up to an additional $1.50 per occupied sleeping room per day on all hotels, motels and tourist courts, with such fees being in addition to the existing $1.50 occupancy fee on hotels and motels for a combined fee of $3.00 per occupied sleeping room per day also to be applied to all short-term rentals conducting business within the City?”
City leaders said these two ballot questions are just the beginning. The city is working on how it can identify every short term rental and establish regulations.