by David Martin
Lobbyist and conservative pundit Woody Cozad can't serve two masters. Cozad is working as a spokesman for the campaign to eliminate the earnings tax in Kansas City, Missouri. The campaign kicked off on Thursday in anticipation of the April 5 vote.
Cozad's support of the repeal means that he won't be working as a lobbyist on behalf of the Kansas City Police Department, one of the beneficiaries of the tax, which raises $200 million annually.
Patrick McInerney, the president of the police board, says in an e-mail that Cozad's contract has been terminated because of his support of the e-tax repeal.
The police won't tolerate Cozad's views on the e-tax because the revenue stream keeps the department from looking like Mayberry's. Department officials are warning that cops and civilian personnel will disappear by the hundreds if the e-tax goes away. "We don't want to be negative or scare people, but facts are facts," Deputy Chief Cy Ritter told the police commissioners at their January 20 meeting, according to Chief James Corwin's blog.
Cozad spoke in favor of the statewide ballot initiative that is forcing Kansas City and St. Louis to defend their earnings taxes at the polls every five years. Voters passed Proposition A, as it was known, last November. Retired investor and free-market absolutist Rex Sinquefield financed the ballot initiative, which also stops other Missouri cities from getting any ideas about taxing income.
Cozad began representing the police department in Jefferson City in 2005, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records. KCPD was deleted from his client list last December. (Cozad was not implicated in the recent scandal involving police commanders and lobbying expenses.)
Sinquefield spent $11.2 million of his personal fortune on the statewide initiative. With Daddy Rex working to make sure that Phase II of his master plan for Missouri goes into effect, Cozad is probably not feeling too blue about losing the KCPD gig.