Voters in the Northland are used to making difficult choices when it comes to tax increases. Sometimes we approve new taxes that build new schools, spur infrastructure construction or support our police and firefighters. Other times, we feel the plans presented could be scaled back or fine tuned and vote them down.
However, voters are typically informed that what is in front of them is a tax increase. That is not the case with the question put on next month’s ballot by Metropolitan Community College.
The question asks, in order to provide “greater affordable access to quality higher education by providing in-district tuition rates for residents” within eight metro school districts — including Kearney, Liberty, Platte County and Smithville in the Northland — should the junior college district of Kansas City be “attached” to your local school district.
The first part is clear. Approving the question will allow students from your school district to attend MCC-Maple Woods at a 46% reduced rate.
The kicker is that nowhere in this ballot language does it say it will raise your property taxes $0.2128 per $100 of assessed valuation. On an average home valued at $150,000, that means your property tax bill would increase $60 a year.
While the disingenuous language used is legal, I will be working to change that legislatively in Jefferson City. Missouri voters deserve to be told the truth when something is a tax increase. For the Metropolitan Community College system to so blatantly hide this truth is disturbing to say the least.
Missouri is the Show-Me State for a reason. We want you to show your work and prove you deserve what you are asking of voters. Time and again, Northland voters have supported reasonable requests from our schools, cities and local governments to raise taxes. We just ask that you honestly make your case and trust us to make the best decision for the Northland. Unfortunately, Metropolitan Community College has chosen smoke and mirrors instead.