Are Missouri’s two largest cities collecting more taxpayer dollars than necessary? To get an idea of whether St. Louis and Kansas City should be considered high-revenue or high-cost cities, it is helpful to compare them to similar cities across the country.

The level of services provided and the types of taxes or fees collected to fund those services differ from city to city. My newest paper, “Breaking Down Expenses and Revenues: Kansas City and St. Louis Compared to Six Other Cities,” updates two previous Show-Me Institute case studies to shed light on the revenue collection and spending habits of St. Louis and Kansas City.

The six comparison cities are Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Denver, Louisville, and Indianapolis. Compared to those cities, St. Louis and Kansas City are, respectively, the second and third highest spending cities overall, and the two highest spenders on debt service.

In terms of revenue collection, Kansas City ranks first among the comparison cities in fees per resident; in fact, it collects almost as much in fees per resident as all of the other cities combined. Indianapolis is the only other city with an earnings tax, yet both St. Louis and Kansas City nearly double Indianapolis in earnings tax collected per city resident.

For further discussion of the revenue and expenditure trends of these cities, click the link below to read the entire essay.


About the Author

Elias - Web
Elias Tsapelas
Senior Analyst

Elias Tsapelas earned his Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Missouri in 2016. His research interests include economic development, health policy, and budget-related issues.