This is some hard core political maneuvering. I wonder how long people will let Lucas get away with these no-answer PR responses to real questions about policy decisions.Last week, Kansas City Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said the fire tax ordinance was finished several days before it was introduced. The mayor, she said, asked her to hold it for consideration until last Thursday.
Lucas was scheduled to be out of the city that day.
The mayor’s office confirms a private discussion with Shields about the tax. It rejects any suggestion that Lucas asked for the delay so he could duck the controversial vote.
Kansas Citians can reach their own conclusions. It is a fact, though, that Lucas never asked the council to wait for August, which he could have. It’s a fact that he didn’t vote Thursday. It’s also a fact Lucas was endorsed by the firefighters’ union, Local 42.
And it’s a fact that candidate Lucas publicly rejected tax increases, particularly sales tax increases, during his campaign. That commitment now seems hollow at best.
After the council vote, the mayor issued a weak statement promising to stretch dollars “as far as we can.” That doesn’t answer our question: Will you vote yes, Mr. Mayor, or no?
And this is not the end apparently.
Sadly, that isn’t the worst of it.
On Thursday, Kansas City Councilwoman Teresa Loar tried adding another quarter-cent sales tax to the April ballot — this one for the police department. The cops, she argued, have needs that are just as important as the firefighters’.
Hilariously, the fire department taxers on the council suddenly developed cold feet. It’s too fast, they said. We need time to think about this.
Loar’s proposal failed, as she knew it would. After the meeting, she said she was trying to make a point, which she did.
But she did more. Her police tax plan is still alive for the August ballot. That leaves the City Council with two options: Put another $315 million tax hike before voters this year, or tell one of the most murderous cities in America that its police force is less important than its firefighters.