Next week thousands of Kansas City, Missouri, voters will decide whether to expand the city’s
streetcar beyond its downtown boundaries. Although voters in the proposed district won’t
technically be voting on a tax increase on Aug. 5, approval of the new district will set the
stage for fresh taxes to support it, which would take the form of a combination of sales and
Supporters say the streetcar project and its expansions will draw a younger, car-averse
demographic to the city’s downtown area that city leaders say we need. But not only do the
city’s plans pose serious problems of half-baked policy; as designed, these plans pose
serious moral questions, as well.
Kansas Citians are already heavily taxed. Missouri is ranked 14th in the country in its
average state and local sales tax rates — even above Florida, which has no income tax at all.
Combined sales taxes around Kansas City regularly exceed 10%, and that’s a problem. Despite
very modest changes on the horizon, Missouri is not competitive when it comes to income tax
rates, with Kansas City even less competitive with an extra 1% earnings tax that hits
everyone, including the poor. The state isn’t distinguished on the property tax front,
either, sitting at about average nationwide. The streetcar levies would add another layer to
the region’s ever-expanding tax onion.
Some supporters say that the research “is in” on “transit oriented development” — read as:
streetcars — and they say such projects drive economic growth. Of course, that’s not what the
literature says. Rather than drive development, streetcars are generally parts of larger,
heavily subsidized project areas. In other words, it isn’t the streetcar that stokes
development, but large, concurrent subsidies that oftentimes would be there with or without
the train. That’s the reality of this proposal and others like it.
Functionally, the streetcar expansion would drain millions of dollars from poorer
neighborhoods in Kansas City to underwrite — and, frankly, to justify — the way of living of
affluent residents only a few miles away, in the city’s preferred neighborhoods downtown.
Poorer neighborhoods will get a streetcar, yes, but it is hard to believe that of all the
things Kansas City’s poorer neighborhoods need, that “streetcars” appear anywhere among their
top five or ten priorities.
That’s why it’s no wonder the proposal has engendered opposition along the proposed route,
with one important neighborhood group calling the project “touristy frou-frou.” As a local
priest wrote in an open letter,
[i]n addition to the sales tax, the streetcar proposal creates a special property assessment
district extending ½ mile on each side of the streetcar line. It would raise property taxes
an estimated 10%. But most frightening is the proposal to assess charities, schools and
churches within the corridor. That will literally take bread out of the children’s mouths and
books out of students’ hands in order to fund a streetcar.
Jul 31, 2014
Jul 29, 2014
Check it, share it...and LINK to it. It's all here!
at 11:57 AM
Jul 27, 2014
Reprint from DAILY KOZ...is this to YOU?
I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn't call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn't call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.
You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.
Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.
You hate liberals, moderates, hell, anyone who disagrees with Conservative dogma as espoused by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You hate em.
Well, here are the facts, Jack. If you hate the Government then you are unqualified to manage it. If you hate gay people more than you love America than you should take your own advice and get the hell out. There are several countries that are openly hostile to gay people, but they are full of brown people and you don't like them much either from what I understand. It looks like you are screwed, but that's not what I am here to tell you.
More rant below the fold . . .
Now that you have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at President Obama and it still hasn't worked you are panicking. Obama's approval ratings are still near 50% despite your best efforts to undermine the economy and America's recovery at every step you can. You tried to hold the American economy hostage to force America into default on its' debts, debts that YOU rang up under Bush, so you could blame it on Obama and it failed. You've used the filibuster more than any other Congress ever, going so far as to vote against providing health care access to 9/11 first responders. You remember 9/11, don't you, it's that thing you used to lie us into a war in Iraq, and then when Obama killed Bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq you told people that he hates America and wants the troops to fail. You monsters. You hate Obama with a passion, despite the fact that he is a tax cutting, deficit reducing war President who undermines civil rights and delivers corporate friendly watered down reforms that benefit special interests just like a Republican. You call him a Kenyan. You call him a socialist. You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950's musical.
Frankly, you disgust me. Your hatred nauseates me. Your bigotry offends me. Your racism revolts me.
Dear haters, I am openly questioning your patriotism.
I think you hate gays, Obama, black people, poor people, all of us, women, atheists and agnostics, Latinos, Muslims, Liberals, all of us, I think you hate every one who isn't exactly like you, and I think you hate us more than you love your country.
I think you hate gay soldiers more than you want America to win its wars.
I don't even think you want America to win wars, you just want America to have wars, never ending wars and the war profiteering it generates. You love that kind of spending, you love spending on faith based initiatives and abstinence based sex education (George Carlin would have loved that one), you love spending on subsidies for profitable oil corporations, you spend like drunken sailors when you are in the White House, but if it is a Democrat then suddenly you cheer when America doesn't get the Olympics because it might make the black President look bad. But oooh you love your country, you say, and you want it back. Well listen here skippy, it isn't your country, you don't own it, it is our country, and America is NOT the religiously extremist Foxbots who hate science, elitist professors and having a vibrant and meaningful sex life with someone we love if Rick Santorum doesn't approve of it. Rick Santorum isn't running for America's fucking high school dance chaperone, he should probably just shut the hell up about sex, but he can't because he has nothing else to run on.
Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They've got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass.
But they love multi-national corporations, just ask a gay hating and racist religious extremist if they think Corporations are people and they will gladly agree, but if you ask them if gay people are people they aren't so sure.
Dear haters, you are the cruel, heartless misinformed assholes who would sell America out to Haliburton in a heartbeat, you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity. You are a cross to carry and a flag to wrap yourself in away from being the people who Sinclair Lewis warned us about, but I guarantee that if Fox News told you to dress that way you would, because you are the same blind, ignorant and closed minded dunces who drove this country into a civil war years ago because you are bound to the notion that some men are more equal than others. In short, the reason I proudly wear my union army hat is because of seditious sell outs like you who constantly fuck over working class Americans so a foreign entrepreneur like Rupert Murdoch can get a bigger tax break. If corporations are people, they are neither American patriots nor capable of love. Just like you.
So stop wearing your hate with pride. Stop celebrating your anti-science, anti-math ignorance. Stop using code words to mask your bigotry like "family values", especially when you hate my family and when you stand on the same stage as a guy who has had three marriages or if you share a seat in the Senate with a guy who cheated on his wife with hookers while wearing diapers. You should be ashamed. I know that you are just doing this to motivate your misinformed hate cult base because if they actually knew that your ideas will make them poorer than they are now, they would never vote for you. You are doing your best to impoverish your countrymen so rich people can get bigger tax breaks and you can keep on delivering corporate welfare to the special interests who have bribed you, and I am disgusted by the way you gleefully parade your hatred with aplomb. I don't think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn't exactly like you.
You should think about that, and maybe get some help.
And for the record, I do not hate you. I am embarrassed by you and nauseated by your cruel and thoughtless behavior and your all consuming greed, but I do not hate you. I forgive you and I hope you can change someday, but I don't hate you. You have enough hate in you for the rest of us as it is.
You can follow me on twitter @JesseLaGreca
ORIGINALLY POSTED TO MINISTRYOFTRUTH ON MON JAN 09, 2012 AT 01:57 PM PST.
at 12:27 PM
Jul 26, 2014
Jul 24, 2014
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at 10:49 PM