Black Heritage District asks for a rewrite
Ollie Gates’ plan to make Kansas City’s east side a duty-free zone has run into a stout opponent: the Missouri Constitution.
Gates belongs to the Intra Urban Economic Council, a group pushing for the elimination of sales taxes in a 20-block area between Prospect and Troost. Gates likes to call the proposal “an inverted TIF.” Instead of letting developers feast on the taxes their projects generate, which is what tax-increment financing accomplishes, the duty-free zone would give the tax break to customers. People who live in or visit the Black Heritage District, as the area is being called, wouldn’t have to pay a 7.725-percent sales tax on goods and services.
The plan has enthusiastic support from Mayor Funkhouser and the city council. Jefferson City is a tougher nut to crack. In fact, the proposal is illegal under current law.