Tracy: Dear Suckers, Guess Who Isn’t Paying the E Tax – the Dudes Who Want You to Pay!

Dear KCMO Suckers:

It’s worse than you think. And if you vote Yes to extend the 1% E-Tax, it’s gonna get even worse. 
Attached is the list of all the business areas that have suckered KCMO citizens into paying to remodel or redevelop THEIR businesses, while homeowners struggle to maintain their homes.  Many on this list are the sugar daddies and pimps who are financing the Yes campaign for Tuesday’s E-Tax.

I want to thank Harley – the KCC commenter who is so seldom wrong  (at least he thinks so) – for challenging my previous E-Tax post.  He and jjskck claimed that TIF projects are not exempt from the E-Tax. I investigated. 

Sorry, boys–you’re wrong. All TIFs are exempt from the E-Tax!

According to the Director of Finance for KCMO, Randall Landes, ALL TIF’s include a rebate of the E-tax. 

Regular TIF’s are eligible for up to 50% of their increment (meaning the new income over what the property used to generate.)  And the Super TIF’s get up to 100% of the E-Tax rebated. 

Here’s the list of active Super-TIF projects in Kansas City.
13th & Wyandotte (hotel)
 12th & Wyandotte (hotel)
 President Hotel (South Loop)
Hotel Phillips
 Union Hill
 Blue Pkwy Town Center
 East Village
 909 Walnut
 KC Live (South Loop)
Pershing Road
 H&R Block
 Aladdin Hotel
 Briarcliff West
 North Oak

And get this: employees of those projects still remit the 1% E-Tax, but it’s then rebated back to their plantation owner/boss.  Earmarked to pay off their bonds, e.g. the cost of building or remodeling.

So while suckers pay,  big business ‘whiners and diners’–do not. They get back their property tax, sales tax and E-Tax–to expand their business. 
Steve Kraske, the moonlighting radio jock at the KC Star, was supposed to be reporting such fine points, but told me Friday, that the E-Tax diversion was news to him. 

Like most, Kraske thought TIF’s were merely about recapturing and investing property taxes and sales taxes. 

This has been one of the worst-reported elections in KC history.   Sunday’s paper was mostly about St. Louis’s E-Tax issue.  And TV Sunday night was all about the weather.

The Star DID reveal the secret plan, even if the E-Tax is extended: that Mayor-Elect Sly James and the James Gang already planning to lobby Jeff City to overturn the citizen vote last November for a 5 year review.  They want 10 years.  They claim it’s for the bond rating.  But get real–they hate to have to hit up the TIF pimps to finance their next fix.  So far, those fat cats have ponied up at least $300,000 to keep the gravy train coming.

This E-tax campaign has been horribly deceptive. 

I’m used to ethics, where cities cannot use tax dollars to lobby for more taxes, they can only educate and inform.  But the Missouri Ethics Commission’s Betsy Byers says there’s NO control over electronic electioneering.  And a 501 c 4, like the EDC, is ONLY regulated by the IRS in WDC.  Thus, the City of KCMO finances the EDC, Economic Development Council–and they put blatant LIES on its web site!  Pat Gray’s campaign slide show is on the home page of the EDC.

Lie #1:  (on slide #9):  A NO vote will mean 500 police officers eliminated.
Lie #2:  (on slide #9): A No vote will mean fire personnel will be reduced from 760 to 270,
              and the closing of up to 20 of 35 fire stations.  Really?  Says who? In what plan? 
Lie #3: (on slide #11): The E-tax does NOT deter businesses from locating here.
             Gosh, so why do all of them insist on that rebate with their TIF???
Lie #4:  (on slide #11):  It does NOT cause businesses to move from here.
              Gosh, what about the 50% of workers who moved to Johnson County??
Completely unsourced propaganda.  Scare tactics.

SUCKER LIST:  These are the “regular” TIF’s (50% off E-Tax) and the Super-TIF’s (100%).

Downtown and Riverfront TIFs
11th Street TIF
1200 Main/ South Loop TIF
12th and Wyandotte TIF
13th and Washington TIF
811 Main TIF
Americana TIF
Baltimore Place TIF
Civic Mall TIF
Downtown Library TIF
East Village TIF
Gailoyd TIF
Grand Boulevard TIF
Hotel Phillips TIF
Judicial Square TIF
New England Bank TIF
New York Life TIF
River Market TIF
Riverfront TIF
Savoy Hotel TIF
Tower Properties TIF
Crossroads and West Bottoms TIFs
West 17th Street TIF
19th Central TIF
22nd Main TIF
Gateway 2000 TIF
Performing Arts District TIF
Pershing Road TIF
The Summit TIF
East Kansas City TIFs
39th and Prospect TIF
Blue Ridge Mall TIF
Brush Creek TIF
Jazz District TIF
Southtown Urban Life Development TIF
Universal Floodwater Detention TIF
        Midtown and Plaza TIFs
43rd and Main TIF
45th Street TIF
Chatham TIF
Country Club Plaza TIF
Midtown TIF
Southtown 31st and Baltimore TIF
Union Hill TIF
Uptown/Valentine TIF
West Edge TIF
Northland TIFs
Antioch Mall TIF
Barry Towne TIF
Briarcliff West TIF
Chouteau and I-35 TIF
KCI Corridor TIF
North Oak TIF
Parvin Road TIF
Prospect North TIF
Searcy Creek TIF
Shoal Creek TIF
Walnut Creek TIF
South KC TIFs
87th and Hillcrest TIF
Brywood TIF
Hickman Mills TIF
Santa Fe TIF
Three Trails TIF
Winchester TIF

One reason KCMO is so broke is its addiction to tourism–the insecure need to impress visitors.  Next up: the James Gang wants to build a $300 million hotel–to subsidize the success of the already wall-to-wall TIF’d downtown. 

On Tuesday, a NO vote would end the 1% E-Tax, for good.  Phase it out over 10 years. 

Tell your KCMO voter friends, they have only once chance to send a message. 


After working for KC Mayor Charles Wheeler, then migrating from KCMO in 1992, Tracy Thomas served 5 years on the Shawnee City Council.   She writes political commentary and satire.  She is NOT working on this campaign. contact her at

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13 Responses to Tracy: Dear Suckers, Guess Who Isn’t Paying the E Tax – the Dudes Who Want You to Pay!

  1. Mark X says:

    Great reporting …
    …. the STAR asleep again.

  2. jjskck says:

    Now THIS is what I was looking for
    I never claimed TIF districts were exempt from the e-tax (I think Harley’s vitriol may have bled into my comments). It never crossed my mind that they could be exempt, since the common understanding of TIF seems to be a property- and sales-tax-only.

    All I was looking for was more information…maybe some names…and you’ve provided them BIG TIME. Employees are essentially paying their 1% e-tax directly to TIF developers? That’s insanity. I can’t believe that’s even a legal arrangement.


  3. Super Dave says:

    About Time A Writer Who Isn’t Afraid to Dig And Expose
    I am so glad to see the truth is starting to come out on the e-tax and who really is benefiting from it.

    Awesome article Tracy I hope to see more of this kind of writing about what is going on all over the Kansas City area.

    Voters you need to get out and head to the polls tomorrow and continue as well to support writers such as Tracy to bring informative articles such as this.

    The only way to bring an end to taxpayer

  4. harley says:

    so stfu and stop imagining things.
    You have a better imagination than glazer…except his is about hot girls and sex.
    Yours are about issues you know nothing about.
    Again…if the e tax fails kcmo is hurt seriously. Wheres the money to come from.
    And listen here you fool…don’t you know the golden rule….he who has the
    gold rules…of course there’s shenanigans going on with local tax dollars…
    now go back to the rock you came from and stop trying to prove me wrong…
    but thanks for bringing me up in your post…even though you lied again!

  5. Tracy Thomas says:

    Harley, get your facts straight
    It’s so easy to prove you wrong when you make false statements. On the previous post, (not this string of comments, a different post of mine) you claimed that Jeter pays KCMO $30,000 for playing in KC. Gee, at 1% of his earnings, was he really paid $3 million to play one homestand here? I believe you might have calculated 10%, not 1%. A legitimate error.

    You also stated that half the E-tax money comes from Johnson County. It does not. You left out all the Missouri-side bedroom communities, including Lee’s Summit, eastern Jack, North beyond KCMO.

    Please stop the namecalling and deal with the facts. We in KC all enjoy reading your posts when you are lucid, Harley. I imagine it must be hard to be a Mizzou fan who also loves baseball. Those are such short seasons of joy. Is that why you get so testy? “Listen here, you fool?” Really? You sound like a defensive, blubbering angry urban comic rather than the suburban business expert which is your usual persona.

    Even tho this is a blog format and I am not a reporter, I did far more reporting on this issue than some at the KC Star. The City secretly knows what all their contingency plans are for replacing that revenue, or living on less tax dollars. I do have some experience in this field.

  6. chuck says:

    Excellent article–between this article and
    Toellners ( ), I feel like i have a better understanding (Its been tough, at least for me, when both sides insist the sky is falling, it is hard for me to see through the agendas.) of what the players on both sides have at stake.

    I have been reading the Star, and I just feel like I am not getting all the information.

    Nice job Tracy.

    I think it is interesting, the number of Fire fighters and policeman that we have compared to other cities our size.

    Toelner’s suggestion to keep it for five years, as it is phased out seems reasonable.It looks like it might be suffer now, or really suffer later.

    Maybe its too late, and the horse (Or whore) has left the barn.

    If nothing else, it is actually nice to see where the money is spent.

  7. smartman says:

    Harley Lucid, End is Near
    When in the hell has harley/jojo ever been lucid? People read his screeds for the same reason they watch Jerry Springer and Hee Haw…to feel better about themselves. I hate to go back to the old standbye but he has more positions than the kama sutra and he gets fucked in everyone of them. His mouth runs like a toilet in Section 8 housing and has enough hot air to potentially be a cause of global warming. He’s a world class jagoff who aspires to be a well informed asshole. Kinda like Cliff from Cheers but not as interesting or lovable. A womans worst nightmare is to be reincarnated as one of the self sealing inflatable dolls he hides under his bed. He’s been mindfucked more than the skulls they found in Jeffrey Dahmers fridge.

  8. alwaysfiredup says:

    “Exempt” vs. “Redirected”
    First, there’s a difference between being “exempt” from e-tax and getting it back in TIF reimbursements. All employers and employees still pay the same tax. It just goes to a different account where it is used to pay back project costs.

    Second, most of those TIF plans have what they call a “base”, meaning the e-tax (and other taxes) generated within the development area in the year before the development began. E-tax up to that base amount doesn’t go to developers.

    Finally, most of those TIF plans also only allow 50% of the increase, the tax “increment”, to go to developers rather than the whole thing. That way they’re sharing the added revenue from the development, making it a win for both city and developer.

    There are some exceptions and some of those exceptions were terrible ideas. And the school districts often get shafted and the term “blight” is abused and legislation should be proposed to fix that. But not all the projects have been bad.

  9. chuck says:

    Hmmm. Ok.

  10. ha ha says:

    Luckily nobody listened to this purple-haired bullshit. Looks like the hair dye has been eating away at what’s left of your brain Tracy. 78% isn’t just a win – it’s a repudiation of stupid.

    Which your argument surely was.

  11. Super Dave says:

    You Idiot
    She don’t have purple hair you uninformed asswipe.

  12. harley says:

    your argument didnt hold water…but you do. You were so so wrong again…
    now go back to your rock and stop making a damn fool out of yourself.
    Why any one would hire you for anything is beyond belief…wrong once..
    wrong always….
    you are an idiot.

  13. pucKChaser says:

    I don’t know what is more satisfying — that the e-tax, which is good for the city, passed or that something Tracy Thomas supported failed.

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