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Minimum police funding, tax exemption for child care providers on August ballot

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(The Center Square) – Missouri voters will decide on two proposed changes to the state constitution during the primary election on Aug. 6.

Amendment 1 would exempt from property taxes all real and personal property of childcare providers who provide the service outside of their home. Amendment 4 would require a minimum funding amount for Kansas City’s police department.

The signatures of registered voters are being certified for three other ballot measures which are expected to be on the General Election ballot in November. Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is reviewing signatures submitted to legalize abortion, sports betting and increase the minimum wage.

Amendment 4 asked voters whether to mandate a police department established by a state board of commissioners to increase from 20% to 25% its share of the city’s budget. Kansas City’s police department is the only force controlled by the state.

Approximately 63% of Missouri voters approved the measure in November 2022, but Kansas City then filed a lawsuit contending the exact cost of the ballot measure wasn’t provided to voters. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city earlier this month, stating the ballot’s summary misstated and misrepresented the cost of the change.

The court recommended the issue be placed on the November ballot.

“Nothing in this statute guides when such an election must take place,” the court wrote in its opinion. It stated the Missouri Constitution allows the item to be submitted to the voters at the next general election or at a special election called by the governor prior to the general election.

“Ordering a new election as part of the general election will minimize disruption and expense without imposing any undue delay,” the justices wrote.

The justices also stated the secretary of state “is free to re-number Amendment No. 4 so as to avoid any duplication.”

Senate Joint Resolution 26 was introduced last year to provide some tax relief for childcare providers. Republican Gov. Mike Parson highlighted the effects of a lack of childcare on the state’s workforce during his last two State of the State speeches.

The resolution passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate and 91-27 in the House. It called for the measure to be placed on the November 2024 ballot or a special election called by the governor.

Parson’s order requires the measures to be placed on the ballot without party designation and to enable citizens to vote on the proposed amendments separately.

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