Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas once championed then-state auditor Nicole Galloway’s independent streak. Now he’s railing against it.
The law requires Kansas City to allocate at least 25% of its general fund revenues to police. The previous requirement was 20%, but was increased by the Missouri Legislature after Lucas and eight council members tried unsuccessfully to claw back $42 million from the KCPD budget. A judge ruled the attempt illegal.
The amendment authorizing the 25% threshold was passed by more than 62% of voters in the state, and passed in every county.
The mayor argues in his personal lawsuit that state officials erred by telling voters the 25% threshold for police funding wouldn’t result in any new costs. Lucas claims the city had told state officials it would cost $38.7 million, though the law doesn’t actually call for any new taxes or revenues.
One of those state officials Lucas’s lawsuit decries for not listening to the city is then-auditor Nicole Galloway – a Democrat whom Lucas enthusiastically endorsed for governor in 2020 precisely for her independent nature.
“She’s not listening to directions from Washington,” Lucas said at the time. “She’s not listening
to directions from anywhere else, and she’s not someone who will be biased or persuaded by a politician anywhere else who’s saying you need to do something that’s different from that which is in the best interest of Missourians.”
Now Lucas’s lawsuit complains that Galloway’s fiscal advisory to voters on the amendment last November didn’t bend to his will.
State Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, was the sponsor of the amendment, and told the Kansas City Star that Lucas’s lawsuit is a “desperate attempt by the mayor to leave open the window” for future defunding of police.
“I don’t see the mayor getting his wish to overturn the will of voters on his stale legal claims,” he said.
Indeed, current Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who are defendants in Lucas’s lawsuit, argue that as a private citizen – albeit oddly using taxpayer funds – Lucas doesn’t even have legal standing to sue the state over the amendment passed by voters.
In addition, a spokesman told The Star that Ashcroft is “confident in the accuracy of the ballot summary” given to voters in November.
A one-time attorney in the office of former Democrat state Attorney General Jay Nixon told The Star that the state auditor has discretion over how to describe an amendment’s fiscal impact to voters. He added that the state Supreme Court “has never actually set aside an election” over such a claim as Lucas’s.