Kansas City mayor sues Missouri over police funding

The state is trying to force the city to increase police funding, but without extra money from Missouri.
In an issue spilling over from previous years, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has filed a...
In an issue spilling over from previous years, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has filed a lawsuit concerning police funding against Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:17 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has filed a lawsuit against the state over continued police funding issues, saying the city will have to increase taxes to pay for any increased funding of the police department.

Since the 1950s, the State of Missouri has required that Kansas City dedicate 20 percent of its budget to the Kansas City Police Department. Earlier this summer, a bill was passed and signed to raise that requirement to 25 percent. That new requirement would still need to be approved by voters in November in order to take effect.

That would require the city to increase its funding for the police department by $64 million, a move the mayor says would force the city to raise taxes to keep up with regular city services, as there is no extra money coming in from the state.

Lucas named Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners in the lawsuit.

In a statement to KCTV5 Wednesday morning, Lucas said the legislation “provides no pay guarantees for our officers, will not hire a single police officer and ignores the will and importance of Kansas City taxpayers instead of attempting to politicize policing in Kansas City at a time we sorely need bipartisan solutions to violent crime.”

Last year, Kansas City attempted to increase funding for the police department while still allowing local control over exactly how those funds would be applied. The city budgeted the required 20 percent to the police department and tried to move another 5 percent into a community services fund. That extra money could only go to KCPD---The Department would have to request it---and the city manager and Board of Police Commissioners would have to approve that request. That new process did not end up proceeding.

“We will take all steps necessary to oppose the statewide tax increase amendment applying only to Kansas Citians and to stand up for the rights of our taxpayers, and we will continue to work locally with our police department to build a safer Kansas City,” Lucas said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Lucas also tweeted a statement Wednesday morning in which he argued against what he called “radical legislation.”

KCTV5 reached out to the AG’s office and expects to hear from them on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Parson signs KCPD funding increase bill, measure must be approved by voters