Kansas City and other Central Cities Dealing with Trying Fiscal Times.
by Jeff Pinkerton
The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a report on the finances of the country’s largest central cities, including Kansas City, Mo. The overall findings show that revenues in most large central cities (Kansas City included) are still below the peak seen prior to the recession. In 2011, Kansas City revenues reached $980 million. This is up from $970 million in 2010, but well below the $1.07 billion reached in 2008. Kansas City’s performance falls in the middle of the 30 cities examined. Nine of the cities in the study saw 2011 revenues exceed their 2007 levels, while revenues in another nine cities are continuing to decline.
There is no one key cause to Kansas City’s revenue decline. Sales and income taxes revenues were lower here during the recession, as in most cities. The study also pointed to the problem of unfunded pensions and revenue shortfalls from the Power and Light District as additional drags on city finances.