Freedom, Inc. made it official: its leaders are voting NO on Question A.
“City politicians have targeted the poorest neighborhoods in our city for higher property and sales taxes, excluding the more affluent areas to the north and south from this tax,” the organization said in a July 11 press release. “Other neighborhoods said ‘No!’ and were excluded. Freedom joins those other neighborhoods in saying NO!”
Question A would create a Transportation Development District (TDD) to extend the streetcar. Former Mayor Emmanuel Cleaver called a similar plan “touristy frou-frou.”
Now, Freedom, Inc. says that the proposed routes won’t serve Kansas City residents, either.
“The Main Street route doesn’t serve the neighborhoods that need transportation the most,” it says. “The other proposed routes on Linwood and Independence Avenue fail to provide the type of high speed transit service needed to move citizens to jobs.”
And there’s more. Freedom, Inc. continues, “There is absolutely no evidence that a streetcar line will bring development into a blighted area.” Instead, the group argues that the TDD’s additional sales tax will negatively impact grocery stores within the district, such as:
- Blue Parkway Sun Fresh
- Leon’s United Super on 39th Street
- Aldi on Prospect
The additional sales tax will put these stores at risk, “further limiting their ability to be competitive and serve our neighborhoods.”
Combined with the sales tax, the real estate assessment for properties near the streetcar lines would represent “the single largest tax increase in Kansas City history,” says Freedom, Inc., “and it is almost exclusively on the backs of those who can least afford it.
“It just doesn’t make sense to saddle Kansas City’s poorest residents with a regressive tax scheme that has no exclusions on necessities, such as groceries and prescription medications, just to build a streetcar that very few in our neighborhoods will ever use.”
Freedom, Inc. urges citizens to vote NO on Aug. 5.
Residents with questions can contact the group at 816-483-VOTE or stop by its headquarters at 1202 Brooklyn, Kansas City.