Kansas City MO voters go to the polls once again next Tuesday to vote on the future of the earnings tax. (Actually this is a state wide election but I'm focusing on KCMO for this blog.) The opposition to the tax states one of the reasons it should be repealed is because it discourages buyers from purchasing homes in Kansas City. As a Realtor working in KCMO, here's my take:
When I am working with buyers who are unfamiliar with the area, along with first time buyers deciding on a location, I always mention the Kansas City MO earnings tax. If the buyer works in KCMO, it's not an issue--they will pay the tax anyway. But if they don't--I explain that it is something to consider. Essentially, paying the tax is a 1% pay cut if you buy a home in KCMO.
Interestingly I have never had a buyer say this tax soured them on living in Kansas City. Generally, buyers pick a location first--the neighborhood they want to live in and how much house they can get for the price they want to spend. Certain areas of KCMO that attract buyers feature amenities and activities that outweigh the tax: locally owned restaurants and shops, decent public transportation, nightlife/cultural attractions, charming older homes and a location close to downtown and urban life. In my experience, the earnings tax isn't a factor in their decision on where to buy. More important is neighborhood, condition of homes, local city services, schools, location close to work, etc. What does sour a buyer on living in Kansas City Missouri?
Crime statistics and the reputation of the KCMO school district.
And those are issues a tax can't fix.