Missouri city officials file lawsuit to block earnings tax measure

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August 17, 2010

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri: Last week, on August 13, 2010, Kansas City's attorney Galen Beaufort filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court against Missouri Earnings Tax Initiative, Proposition A. Challengers argue that the proposed measure is unconstitutional and are asking the court to remove the measure from the November 2010 ballot.[1] Specifically the lawsuit said the measure violates the state's single-subject rule, fails to make necessary distinctions between personal and business versions of the tax and mandates elections without funding them.[2]

If the measure is approved by voters on November 2, voters in Kansas City and St. Louis would hold a referendum on keeping the earnings tax levy in 2011 and every five years thereafter. If the levy is rejected by voters the tax would be phased out and could not be reinstated.

The lawsuit was filed 10 days following the certification of the measure by the Missouri Secretary of State. In response to the filed challenge, Let Voters Decide spokesperson Scott Charton called the lawsuit "an absurd act of desperation by special interests that don’t want voters to have a say on local earnings taxes." Prior to the certification of the measure, according to reports, the Kansas City Council unanimously voted to authorize the city attorney to take any legal actions deemed appropriate to challenge the initiative.[3]

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