Is lobbyist and pundit Woody Cozad itching for a pay cut? Cozad, a former chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, continues to speak out on behalf of Proposition A, a statewide ballot issue which jeopardizes the earnings tax collected in Kansas City and St. Louis. Officials in Kansas City are mulling doomsday scenarios if the tax goes away, including a reduction of 700 positions in the Police Department.
The irony is that Cozad works as a police department lobbyist. Counter-productive much?
Cozad doesn't think so. I spoke to Cozad about his support of Proposition A several months ago. He emphasized the democratic spirit of the initiative, which will give voters in Kansas City and St. Louis the opportunity to repeal the earnings tax in 2011 and every five years thereafter.
Cozad believes the earnings tax drives away employers. "There's broad agreement that this is a bad tax for cities," he told me, overstating the case. The Civic Council, a group of local CEOs, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce subsequently decided the e-tax is worth preserving and have given money to the anti-Prop A campaign.
Cozad said earlier this year that he supports replacing the earning tax with another revenue stream. But he and other Prop A supporters have not talked much during the campaign about alternate ideas for funding city services. For this gang, starving the government beast appears to be Priority One.
Of course, the same beast funds Cozad's lobbying efforts. Maybe the police department's Jefferson City contingent will be the first place the doomsday artists look to cut, should the e-tax begin its gradual disappearance.