The Missouri Record is calling the Kansas City Star editorial board to task for its unkind and misleading portrayal of Rex Sinquefield, who supports a repeal of the city’s earning tax. The newspaper’s chief objection echoes that of some city politicians, who fear a loss of government revenue under potential changes to the tax-base structure.
The city earnings tax, and potential statewide ballot measures that may or may not alter the tax, are legitimate issues for discussion. Doing so does not necessitate harsh attacks on repeal proponents. Of the portrayal of Sinquefield, The Record notes:
This is rank class warfare. The Star chooses to describe Sinquefield only as a “multimillionaire ideologue.” The Star omits mention that Sinquefield is a self-made man who grew up in an orphanage in Normandy, Missouri and once studied in the seminary. It omits mention that Sinquefield sits on the boards of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the Missouri Botanical Garden–but it asserts that he “doesn’t care” about the city’s future. Why? I suspect that “self-made multimillionaire philanthropist” doesn’t fit The Star’s obvious desire to characterize him as a bogeyman.
Mark Funkhouser (whom the editorial also criticizes for being open to repeal) is an adept public auditor; Rex Sinquefield is a respected economist and successful investor. The two diverge politically, but both have earned reputations for good intentions and good ideas, and hold lengthy records of meaningful public service and dynamic generosity.
Intense debate and disagreement naturally accompanies some public policy questions and the political battles that shape them. In this case, it would be wrong to suggest that repeal proponents don’t have the proper background or motive to responsibly influence the policy direction on this issue.