KSHB41 TV Reporter Lexi Sutter Understands The Bus Funding Problem
Posted by Transit Action Network on March 14, 2015
KSHB41 TV Lexi Sutter’s investigative reporting on the bus funding for the current fiscal year makes the right points, but the city keeps talking about the next budget instead of this year. http://m.kshb.com/1KU607o
Why won’t Kansas City give the buses 95% of the proceeds from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax for 2014-2015? The city says it used the Ordinance 130796 formula correctly in last year’s budget. But the buses get 95% of the proceeds from the sales tax, not the estimated budget! The estimated budget, which projected revenue a year ago, ended up being 13% too low and amounts to over a $4.2 million difference. The city isn’t explaining why they haven’t re-calculated the bus money using the correct number. Assuming the city calculates the correct amount for this year, then KCATA will receive sufficient payment to fully cover the cost of the bus service and it won’t have to use its reserve account to maintain the bus system this year. In the submitted budget, KCATA won’t have to use its reserves next year either.
Please contact the City Council and the Mayor and tell them that you voted to pay higher sales taxes for a bigger and better bus system. You want your sales taxes spent as they promised.
The final Finance Committee meeting on the budget is at 8:30 am next Wednesday, the 18th, 10th floor, City Hall. You can also send an email or call the City Council and Mayor
Here are the basic points to be made.
1 This current fiscal year, 2014-2015, the city needs to honor its commitment to voters and taxpayers and obey ordinance 130796, and give the buses 95% of the actual proceeds from the Public Mass Transportation Sales Tax, as calculated in the ordinance.
2 The ordinance does NOT limit the bus money to the estimated budget amount from last year, that is WRONG and everyone knows it. Calculate the right amount based on the actual tax receipts.
3 Not adjusting to the actual dollars is a violation of the law.
4 The budgeted revenue for 2014-2015 was 13% too low. The buses shouldn’t suffer because the budget was terribly wrong. If the budget department had estimated the correct amount last year, then the buses would be getting the right amount of money to start with. So they should get the additional money NOW. It is normal to adjust to the actual dollars
5 Stop trying to ignore this violation of the law by changing the subject to the submitted budget for next year, 2015-2016.
Ask any official you talk to or email if they will commit to making sure the bus system gets the correct amount of money this year based on the ordinance. You can find the email addresses and phone numbers for the city officials at KCMO.gov
We wish the city would stop playing games with taxpayers money. People desperately need a bigger and better bus system and a large majority of people voted for extra taxes to get just that. The first vote for the additional 3/8 percent sales tax was in 2003. Here is a chart of how much money has been used for purposes other than the buses from the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax since that first vote, despite promises from the city. The bus system is not receiving 7/8 percent in sales taxes.
It is a very sad comment on city government that we felt an ordinance was needed to get the city to honor its commitments to voters. It shouldn’t be needed but you can see for yourself what they have been doing. This was the first year the full 95% of the sales tax was supposed to kick in and the city is still trying to get out of it by keeping $6 million to give away next year.
See our previous post with more detail. Speak Up! Why is Kansas City Giving Transit Money To Public Works, AGAIN?