Sunday, November 14, 2021

The following is an electronic Greeting Card from one of our regular readers, Andy Whiteman. We are posting a link to Andy's card for everyone to enjoy. 

Well done, Andy!

USE THIS LINK TO VIEW . . . Fall Colors 


We don't know about the rest of you out there -- but we love Trick Football Plays. We came across the following video. It is our Thanksgiving gift to you. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Use the following link . . . FOOTBALL TRICK PLAYS

Here is one of our favorites we could not leave out of our collection.

Use the following link . . . MOST RECENT FAVORITE!

Happy Thanksgiving from Greg and Paul

USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment

BY GREG WALTERS

New 2.5% Sales Use Tax
WILL NOT TAKE EFFECT UNTIL JANUARY 1, 2022

Here’s a little secret many do not know of in Raytown. Voters approved a 2.5% Sales Use Tax on November 2nd. The secret is the tax does not take effect until the first quarter of 2022. The first quarter on January 1, 2022. 

So you can save yourself 2.5% on taxable purchases on the internet up until December 31, 2021. 

Enjoy the savings while you can.


Homeowner Inspection Fees
PROPOSED BY McDONOUGH ADMINSTRATION


TO VIEW THE MEETING USE THIS LINK: COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING

The Michael McDonough Administration has floated an idea to require home owners in Raytown to pay for a permit to build a fence, replace a driveway, or build an out building on their property. Last Tuesday night, the Board of Aldermen met in a public “meeting of the whole” to learn of the creation of the new fee. 

The current rules allow homeowners in Raytown to construct a fence, replace a driveway or build an out building (under 200 sq. ft. in size) without a city permit provided they do the work themselves.

If a contractor is hired to do the work, the contractor must obtain a city license before they can do business in Raytown. 

A spokesman for the McDonough Administration said the purpose of the work session was to inform members of the Board of Aldermen of legislation planned to create the new fee. 

Alderman Derek Ward and Mayor Michael McDonough had a fiery exchange over the proposed creation of a new “inspection fee” by the city administration. 

Ward told members of the Board the proposed inspection fee was a “complete over reach”. He continued by saying he would not support the legislation. Later in the meeting Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson said she agreed with Alderman Ward’s comments. 

McDonough accused Alderman Ward of “attacking” the city employees who put together the inspection fee package. 

Ward responded that he did not think it was necessary for the Mayor to give an editorial comment on everything said by a member of the Board. 

McDonough ruled that Ward was “out of order”. His ruling effectively ended what could have been an enlightening debate. 

The fact is, Alderman Ward was not “out of order”. 

The purpose of a work session is to learn of and debate how legislation should be crafted. McDonough and Alderman Ward had contrary views on the subject (for that matter, so did Alderwoman Janet Emerson).

Ruling someone out of order because they do not agree with you is a cowardly way of avoiding debate.

The Mayor is wrong to use such heavy handed methods simply because someone does not agree with him.

OUR VIEW . . .
When a homeowner makes an improvement on their property they should not be forced to pay an inspection fee if they do the work themselves.

This is how city ordinances currently treat the situation. It should remain so.

Most homeowners check with City Hall when they make plans to improve their property with a new fence, replace a driveway, or construct an out building. The city should encourage these improvements, not make the homeowner who is, in fact, improving the city with their home improvements.

There are, however, instances where homeowners do not follow city code in what they construct. This has led to some structures being built in violation of city property codes. It has also caused property disputes when a driveway crosses property lines.

The problem is a lack of communication by the city to Raytown home owners.

The city is certainly not shy about using tax dollars to inform Raytown voters with fact sheets (that are actually less than factual) for city elections. The city also publishes an annual newsletter informing the Raytown homeowners of all the wonderful things being done for them in Raytown.

Why not use those two methods to inform Raytowners of city codes for home improvement projects?

But, do not insult the taxpayers with an inspection fee. The person doing the inspection is already on the payroll . . . the position is already funded by the city.

After all, we do not want the City of Raytown to gain a reputation of a money-grabbing government that wants to tax homeowners for making improvements to their homes. 

Or, to paraphrase what they Beatles most famously wrote in “Taxman”.

If you sit too long they will tax your seat.
If you walk too far they will tax your feet.

USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Final Vote Totals – Raytown Sales Use Tax

YES            1023 votes           53.59%
NO                886 votes           46.41%

Some interesting statistics:

Area wide voter turnout:       11.6%
Cost per ballot cast:              $15.31

Today is Election Day

Voters will decide the fate of a new 2.5% Sales Use Tax. This Band-Aid approach of slowly ratcheting up the cost of living with a new sales tax is deeply flawed.

Pro tax forces have run a campaign of misinformation to persuade voters to buy into this unfair and regressive tax increase.

They speak in general terms of improving streets, sewers, and city services.

Yet they refuse to ear-mark the money for specific projects.

The reality is if this tax is passed, the money will go directly to the general fund where it can be used on anything they wish.

VOTE NO Sales Use Tax
Special Election
Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Reprinted FROM THE Kansas City Star OCTOBER 29, 2021

BY GREG WALTERS

Greg Walters is serving in his 30th year as a member of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. He has published the Raytown Report news/blog since 1997. The Raytown Report can be accessed at www.raytownreport.blogspot.com




Raytown Voters do not need to hand

over blank check in Sales Use Taxes 

On Tuesday Raytown voters will decide the fate of a new 2.5% Sales Use Tax. This Band-Aid approach of slowly ratcheting up the cost of living with a new sales tax is deeply flawed.

 

Pro tax forces have run a campaign of misinformation to persuade voters to buy into this unfair and regressive tax increase.

 

They complain inflation is costing the city tax dollars, particularly in franchise tax fees.

That is nonsense.

Franchise taxes in Raytown are paid for by homeowners and businesses when they pay utility bills. These taxes are assessed on how much you pay for electricity, natural gas, telephone service (cell and landline), and cable services.

 

Franchise taxes are tied directly to inflation. If the cost of your service goes up, so does the franchise tax you pay.

  

All sales taxes are tied directly to inflation as well. For instance, the more you spend on groceries, the more the city makes.

 

The pro tax people claim the city has had declining revenues.

 

That is simply not true.

In fact, in 2019/2020 (at the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic) the city actually had a banner year. Sales tax revenues have remained robust into 2021. Because of inflation, city tax revenues will continue to rise.

 

Real estate and personal property tax revenue is on the rise as well. Want proof? Check out the increase of what homes are selling for in the Raytown area. There is a housing shortage. Demand has driven prices up. Higher values means more real estate tax revenue for the city.

 

Another falsehood being spread by the pro-tax people is that this new Sales Use Tax is a tax on internet retailers.

 

That is extremely misleading.

If this Sales Use Tax passes purchases from out of state internet sellers would be charged an additional 2.5%. The vendor does not pay the tax.

 

As with all sales taxes, the vendor acts as an agent for the taxing entity. The retailer remits the sales tax collected to the State of Missouri. The state redistributes the tax collected to local governing entities.

 

An interesting fact about the Sales Use Tax is that less than half the cities in the State of Missouri collect it.

 

There is also a question of what is fair and equitable for Raytown taxpayers.

 

The Use Tax is a regressive tax.

It hurts those most who have the least. It is a financial drain on low and fixed income households as compared to those with higher incomes.

 

A seatmate of mine on the Raytown Board of Aldermen, Derek Ward, has suggested the city should look at Municipal Bonds.

 

A Better Way.

Municipal Bonds would raise more money, more quickly, than levying a Sales Use Tax on Raytowners.

 

Best of all, it would jump start long overdue improvements to city streets, particularly in our neighborhoods.

 

What Raytown really needs is more accountability from its elected leaders.

 

The proposed 2.5% Sales Use Tax provides none.

 

All the money collected under the proposed Sales Use Tax will go into the general fund. No earmarks for improving our city’s infrastructure. No money set aside for improvements to neighborhoods.

 

A Municipal Bond is different because the money from bonds can only be spent on what the voters are promised.

 

Such bonds are valuable because they are enforced by Bond Covenants that are iron clad.

 

If voters approve the Sales Use Tax there is no guarantee where the money will be spent.

 

Therefore, no accountability.

 

It would be accurate to say you are writing a blank check to City Hall. Those blank checks to City Hall have not worked in the past.

 

Those blank checks will not work now.


VOTE NO Sales Use Tax
Special Election
Tuesday, November 2, 2021

 

Better yet, Vote No and remind your neighbors, friends and family to do the same.


PAID FOR BY GREG WALTERS


USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment

About a week ago we received the following comment on the blog portion of the Raytown Report. We thought the subject merited more comment than just two sentences.

ANONYMOUS WROTE . . .

How do you figure they're sneaking in an election? It's everywhere on social media that the election is coming up!

BY ALDERMAN GREG WALTERS

OUR REPLY . . . The decision to hold a stand-alone election on November 2, 2021 is a costly one. The Jackson County Election Board estimates Raytown cost for this election to come to approximately $40,200.

Had the Board changed the date of the election to April of 2022, the city would realize a savings of at least $20,000!

To understand why there is such a difference in cost is easily explained. The State of Missouri has set aside the first Tuesday in April as the time for local governmental bodies to hold their elections.

An example of what this election should cost can be found in 2019. The 19 governmental bodies listed below held City Elections in April of 2019. Because all of the elections were held at the same time, the cost of the election was shared.

City of Blue Springs, City of Grain Valley, City of Grandview, City of Lake Lotawana, City of Oak Grove, City of Raytown, Town of River Bend, Town of Sibley, Town of Unity Village, Blue Springs R4 School District, Fort Osage R1 School District, Grain Valley R5 School District, Grandview C4 School District, Hickman Mills C1-School District, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Oak Grove R6 School District, Raytown C2 School District, Lotawana Fire Protection District, Raytown Fire Protection District.

According to the Jackson County Election Board, this “Special Election” will cost the City of Raytown approximately $40,200. By comparison Raytown’s “share” of the April, 2019 election came to $20,640.

OUR VIEW . . .
This is not the first time the City held a special election to push a tax through. In August of 2018 the City of Raytown placed three tax increase questions on the ballot. The voters in Raytown turned down all three of the tax increase questions.

Two of those tax increase questions lost by landslide margins of 70% NO to 30% YES. The third tax was a gasoline tax, lost by a smaller margin.

As in 2018, the tax increase in 2021 is being held as a “special election”.

This is not a coincidence or accident. These elections are scheduled purposely for a “low turn-out” event. The reason is simple, historically speaking, tax increase questions have a better chance of passing in a low turnout election.

The Mayor has been known to brag about his political base on Facebook. He and his supporters plan is simple. Keep the election low profile and hope his base will follow his instructions and vote for a 2.5% Sales Use Tax.

THE 2.5% SALES USE TAX IS FLAWED
Here’s a little secret the “more taxes crowd” will not share with you. The tax revenue a 2.5% Sales Tax is not dedicated to any particular service. Ward 5 Alderman Derek Ward attempted to have the money earmarked for street maintenance. However the Mayor and the majority of the Board were clearly opposed to a tax dedicated to street maintenance.

The 2.5% Sales Use Tax is a regressive tax. The burden of paying for it hits hardest on those who can least afford it. Those on fixed incomes will especially feel the burden of this new tax.

City Hall is not starved for money. But it is lacking accountability. The following list is of questionable expenditures enacted since 2019.

$40,000 spent on an electronic billboard in front of city hall on one of the least travelled streets in Raytown. The sign only faces one way, north towards Raytown Road. Is very difficult to read, and does not even face two of the three directions. Which means if you are travelling on 59th Street, you cannot see what is on the sign.

$20,000approved in the 2021/2022 City Budget for replacing a sign located on the City Hall Parking lot that points the direction to the Raytown Police Department. Industry professionals place the cost of replacement at no more than $2,500.

$40,000spent on this upcoming election when it could be held for as little $20,000 if held in April, 2022. The savings would be even greater if held during a regular election cycle when the city regularly municipal elections.

$5,000estimated cost of the City printing and mailing a “5 Facts to Know” and “Use Tax FAQ’s” to “educate” the voters of Raytown.

The disclaimer on the Flyer read: “For informational purposes only. Paid for by the City of Raytown, Michael McDonough Mayor.  

Do the math . . . that is just four examples. The total comes to $105,000.00! Raytown needs more accountability and some common sense at City Hall. The city does not need to burden taxpayers with an unfair and regressive Sales Use Tax.

That $105,000 would more than pay for another policeman, or, do some serious repair work to our neighborhood streets.

VOTE NO  Sales Use Tax
Special Election
Tuesday, November 2, 2021


GUEST EDITORIAL BY WARD 5 ALDERMAN DEREK WARD
A Better Way
alderman_derek_ward@raytown.mo.us

In several conversations with constituents and Raytown residents over the last several weeks, two points were universally agreed.  First, our roads are in deplorable condition and fixing them is the top priority.  Second, sales taxes are regressive (they hurt the poor far more than the wealthy). 

It is clear to anyone who drives in Raytown that although Raytown Road and State Route 350 are in decent shapes, the roads that lead past our homes are crumbling. In the 16 years I’ve lived in Raytown, I don’t recall the city conducting any maintenance on our neighborhood streets. But I’m one of the lucky residents; my street is only starting to fail.  Many of my 5th Ward constituents are not so lucky. 

Below are two pictures showing just one (but representative of many) road very near my home. 

Although I am not a civil engineer or a road expert, I’m fairly certain that once the road surface has a consistency of sand and grass is growing through the pavement, the road needs to be completely replaced.
 

Our current band-aid approaches are not working. 

To be clear, this is not a criticism of our wonderful city staff. They do the best they can with what they are given. And pointing fingers won’t solve the problem. Only a pro-active approach and a commitment to continuous improvement will get us where we need to go.


I voted against the effort to place the use-tax question on the ballot for two reasons.  First, as noted above, I believe that sales and use taxes punish our poorest for simply living.  With year over year inflation currently exceeding 5%, adding another 2-3% in taxes seems like a sure way to stress already strained household budgets.  Most families have not seen their wages go up 7-8% in the last year (or even the last three years combined).

Second, and perhaps equally importantly, I believe that the only realistic way Raytown has to pay for the roughly $50 million dollars we need in street repairs to issue bonds.

Interest rates are at historic lows and there may never be a better time to borrow.

Yes, this will lead to a tax increase. But it will be tied to the ownership or real property that will increase in value when the roads are fixed or that will decrease in value if they are not fixed.

Make no mistake, if we don’t fix the roads, your home will be worth less. Whatever we can spend today will save us money in the long term while preserving or even increasing today’s property values.

As always, I am always happy to talk with Raytown residents and Ward 5 constituents.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Raytown Democrat Association turns back
request for endorsement of 2.5% Sales Use Tax
 
      

The Raytown Democrat Association (RDA) met last week for a two hour meeting. About 30 people were on hand to discuss a number of topics. Those topics included a lively discussion on Covid-19 Mask Restrictions and the need for more Jackson County residents to get vaccinated. 

Guest speakers included Ward 3 Alderman Ryan Myers and Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters. Myers and Walters held a short debate on the upcoming 2.5% Sales Use Tax to be voted on November 2nd by Raytown Voters. 

Myers spoke in favor of the tax. Walters spoke in opposition. In his presentation Myers asked the RDA to endorse the tax. However, none of the members present made a formal motion to make an endorsement, so the question was not voted. 

Also in attendance were Jackson County Legislators Jalen Andersen and Tony Miller. Andersen and Miller spoke on many topics. The discussion included plans for a new Jackson County Jail, Covid-19, legislative redistricting, and next year’s elections (August and November, 2022 elections). 

The next meeting of the RDA will be held on November 18, 2021. The monthly meetings are held at Las Chili’s Restaurant located at 6210 Raytown Trafficway. Meetings formally begin at 7:00 p.m. However many members arrive for a social hour at the restaurant beginning at 6:00 p.m.

USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment


BY TRUTH WATCH

Truth Watch Returns! 
We contacted a friend of ours who used to write a column for the Raytown Report that he called “Truth Watch”. He shared his thoughts about the upcoming Special Election. We found it enlightening. We hope you do too.


SALES USE TAX “Fun Facts” AND A PINOCCHIO COUNT*

*A pinocchio is a term used by Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler. It is a scale to determine the truth in a given statement. He grades lies from "one pinocchio" (some shading of the facts and selective telling of the truth), to  "five pinocchios" (whoppers).

This past week Raytowners were treated to an infomercial of sorts via the United States mail. Taxpayers found a flier entitled “Facts to Know and Use Tax FAQ’s” about the upcoming November 2nd Special Election. Voters will decide the fate of a 2.5% Sales Use Tax on that day. The following list of "fun facts" should help clarify any questions people have about the the 2.5% Sales Use Tax.

FUN FACT 1: According to the flyer, the City can expect to gain $200,000 annually from a Sales Use Tax. This is odd. When the issue first came forward, the city placed the amount of money it would collect at $400,000. Just a personal observation, but those folks at City Hall need to get their story straight.

FUN FACT 2: Supporters of the new tax have made some claims that are simply not true. My favorite is "This is not a new tax." Untwist the words and you come up with a different statement that is factual. 

Raytowners are not currently paying the tax. If the tax passes they will pay 2.5% on every internet purchase they make they currently do not pay. Sounds like a new tax to me. 

FUN FACT 3: In the flyer it is clearly stated that nearly half of Missouri cities have a Sales Use Tax. Doesn’t that mean that more than half do NOT have a Use Tax? I am not sure what the pro side is trying to say here. Their logic went right past me. 

FUN FACT 4: The pro tax people at city hall want people to believe this is not a sales tax. Plainly speaking, that is not a true statement. The tax is calculated and charged at a percentage of 2.5% on the value of the goods being purchased.

That is the definition of a sales tax. You can call it a different name. But it is still a tax based on the amount of the sale. If the tax passes 2.5% will be added to every purchase you make on the internet.

Make no mistake about it. The Sales Use Tax is a Sales Tax.

It is a new tax you do not currently pay. But you most certainly will pay it if this tax passes on November 2nd. 

My grade on the Fact Sheet from City Hall?

THREE PINOCCHIOS  (Significant factual errors and/or contradictions)

REMEMBER TO VOTE NO SALES USE TAX
Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, 2021

USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment




EUPHEMISM:
a word or phrase used in place of a term that might be considered too direct, harsh, unpleasant, or offensive

EXAMPLES OF A EUPHEMISM
“Sales Use Tax” instead of “Sales Tax”
“Concentration Camp instead of “Death Camp”

BY GREG WALTERS

Sales Taxes are regressive. They benefit the rich. explained  . . .                                         

Imagine two individuals each purchase $100 of clothing per week, and they each pay $7 in tax on their retail purchases.

The first individual earns $2,000 per week, making the sales tax rate on her purchase 0.35 percent of her income. 

In contrast, the other individual earns $320 per week, making her clothing sales tax 2.2 percent of her income. 

Although the percentage of the tax is the same rate in both cases, the person with the lower income pays a higher percentage of her personal income. 

The person making the higher income pays a lower percentage of her personal income. 

Make no mistake about it. The 2.5% Sales Use Tax is a regressive sales tax. It that hurts people on limited incomes the most.

On November 2nd, join your neighbors in voting NO on this regressive and unfair tax.

USE THIS LINK TO  . . . Comment

Doughboys . . . is Back in Business!   BY GREG WALTERS

We like to check back on some of our “Upcoming Events” stories to see how things panned out for the owners. Last Monday and Tuesday Doughboys Donuts re-opened their doors for business after being closed for nearly two months.

Marjain Breitenbach told us they actually had two openings this week. The first opening was a “soft” opening (Monday) was done to make sure everything was still in working order after a two month hiatus.

The only items not working properly were the telephone and credit card machine. Elisa Breitenbach said that despite those two bumps in the road, everything went swimmingly!

The “grand re-opening” went very well. Marjain said, “we surpassed our regularly opening crowd by over 30%. Given that we were closed for nearly two months, we are pleased with the results,” continued Marjain.

 “People were coming into the store doing “happy dances”, said Elisa. “It was like a party atmosphere. 

The Breitenbachs told us, “We love our customers and from our point of view, they showed they care as well, by voting with their feet and showing up after our being closed for two months.”

This story truly has a Happy Ending.

Paul's Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS

THIS WEEK: Recent Tax Increases and Future Tax Increases

Those who are pounding the drum for a 2.5% Sales (use) Tax are not alone in their effort to raise taxes. The City of Raytown, the Raytown School District and the State of Missouri have quietly put into motion changes in fees, tax increase and planned tax increase elections within the near future.

In fact, some of these "new" taxes have already been established.

MISSOURI GASOLINE TAX:
 
Missouri voters have defeated attempts by the State of Missouri to increase the tax on gasoline in the state. What our State Government could not accomplish at the ballot box they legislated into a recent increase on the tax we all pay for gasoline in Missouri.

You may have noticed this recent increase of 2.5 cents per gallon. Coupled with inflationary pressures and changes in how gasoline is provided to the public by Washington, DC, has increased the price of gasoline to the $3.00 per gallon level.

LICENSE FEES: The City of Raytown recently increased the fees it charges utilities and property owners for inspection and license fees of street cuts and construction in the city right of way. License fees are charged by municipalities on utility companies when public streets are cut for repair of utilities that frequently run under the street. 

These increases have been noticed by utility companies. Mr. Pat Ertz, President of the Raytown Public Water Supply District No. 2, asked the Board Aldermen to reconsider reducing some of the fee increases that ranged from 66% to 900%.

Mr. Ertz told City Officials the fee increases would ultimately be passed down to everyone who purchases water from Water Supply District Number 2. The same would be true for fees paid by Evergy (electricity), Spire (natural gas), and Raytown Water Company*.

Those fee increases would ultimately be paid for by utility users.

Despite his warning, the Board of Aldermen approved ALL of the rate increases.

These fees will affect what we pay for electricity, natural gas, water, cable service, literally any utility that cuts into a street or right of way in Raytown. The cost will be passed down to us when we pay our utility bills.

In a classic case of cause and effect, the city will then tax us more for the total amount we pay the utility companies!

*Raytown is served by two water companies.

RAYTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT: The Raytown School District is considering another property tax increase for voters to vote on in April of 2022. Look for property taxes to be increased or extended as a result of a school bond election if voters approve the proposal.

INFLATION: If approved by the voters the Sales (use) Tax will be applied to all internet purchases in Raytown. If you purchase food, medicine, vitamins, literally anything you would purchase in a retail grocery store in Raytown. You will be charged the 2.5% sales use tax by the City of Raytown.

As with all sales taxes, the city’s “take” on the sales tax is tied to inflation. So as your dollar’s purchasing power becomes less, the city actually receives more.

NEXT WEEK:
“Sales taxes are regressive and benefit the wealthy” . . . explained.