We were disappointed to learn that Mayor Sly James has turned down an offer to debate the Go bonds issue with us. Nick Haines had extended the invitation for his KCPT program Week in Review. This is an important issue worthy of public debate.
Kansas City voters are being asked to consider borrowing $800 million dollars by issuing bonds backed by an increase in property taxes that will last 40 years. The campaign in favor of the proposal has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from some of the biggest corporations and special interests in Kansas City. The Mayor and members of the City Council have spoken at town hall meetings and on radio and television. And yet serious questions remain.
Show-Me Institute analysts have been skeptical of the city’s GO bond claims for some time. We were the first to point out that the city was proposing 40 years of debt (not 20), the first to expose the city’s misleading tax assumptions, and the first to point out that the city will be able to divert general revenue funds to other unrelated matters.
A policy debate is nothing to fear. For example, on March 20, Councilman Scott Wagner and I discussed the GO bond at the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association. The talk was professional, and I am confident that the room full of attendees were pleased to have both sides represented.
The public only benefits from a government that is transparent and accessible. We reiterate our invitation to the Mayor. If his schedule doesn’t permit the particular time and place offered by KCPT, how about another time and place? With $800 million at stake, the decision voters make on the GO bond should be an informed one. We can think of no better way to educate Kansas City residents than a debate, and we would welcome an opportunity to join with the Mayor to present two different perspectives on this important issue.