Kansas City voters weigh options for mayor, council and taxes

June 18, 2019 - 6:29 am
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City voters will choose between two candidates with vastly different backgrounds but many similar political positions when they go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new mayor.

Quinton Lucas, a 34-year-old black man, and Jolie Justus, a 48-year-old gay woman, are both attorneys with similar voting records during their first terms on the city council. They both said during the campaign that the city's top priorities should be reducing crime, increasing affordable housing and encouraging development in underserved areas of the city.

They differ in their approaches to the solutions.

Lucas said he was a political outsider who wanted to change how the city provides basic services and emphasize spreading developments across the city. Justus, who served two terms in the Missouri Legislature before returning to Kansas City, said she is a collaborator willing to work with people on all sides of issues.

While the mayor's race received most of the attention leading up to Election Day, a ballot question could have a major impact on economic development in the city. Voters will decide whether to adjust the city's ordinance that governs tax increment financing, or TIFs.

Observers on both sides of the issue agree that the ballot language on TIFs is confusing. 

A NO vote would keep the TIF cap at 75 percent, and a YES vote would drop it down to 50 percent. Both mayoral candidates say they will vote NO. 

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