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Kansas City May Be First City with a ‘Zoo Tax’

October 6, 2011

The Kansas City Zoo is hoping that voters will approve a new sales tax of one-eighth of a cent to support the zoo.

The sales tax will be put on the ballot on November 8 and would require shoppers to pay a cent for each $8 they spend on purchases in Jackson and Clay counties in Missouri. The zoo is promoting the plan by saying the money would fund between $70 million and $100 million in improvements, as well as create up to 1,200 construction jobs and over 100 permanent jobs over the next 10 years, according to the Kansas City Star. It would generate an estimated $14.2 million annually, which buys a lot of peanuts.

The zoo said the extra money would enable it to build new attractions showcasing penguins, orangutans, gorillas, tigers, giraffes, and not to mention a splash park. The zoo has enlisted the help of a former Kansas City Royal baseball player and coach, Frank White, to help promote the plan to voters. Local residents who paid the sales tax would be able to enjoy half-price admission year-round, and free admission on special days.

At least the voters would be getting something out of the deal, unlike taxpayer-financed ballparks with luxury skyboxes that few can afford.

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