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New task force works to simplify business license code

In response to Mayor Kay Barnes' call for a change in the business license tax, City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen announced Thursday the establishment of the business license task force to review current processes and recommend changes.

"It is important to every City to have a required process for registering businesses. The task force will be charged with recommending a simplified code for business licenses -- one that will be more palatable to both the taxpayers and the City's enforcement officers," Cauthen said.

Lou Austin, a local attorney, will be the chairman of the task force. Other members include Terry Campbell Sr., chief financial officer for HNTB; Doug Washington, vice president of Versent Group; Nancy Zielke, assistant vice chancellor of fiscal operations for the University of Missouri-Kansas City; and Deb Hinsvark, chief financial officer for the City of Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City's business license tax was imbedded in the City Charter in the 1920s and then amended and enhanced by numerous ordinances over the last 80 years. The current charter language is now obsolete, and in many cases, industry changes have made the tax cumbersome.

The task force will hold public hearings in late May and early June. Specific dates for the public hearings will be available by mid-May, and will be posted on the City's Web site ( The task force tentatively plans to submit its recommendations in late August.

For more information about the business license task force, call Deb Hinsvark, chief financial officer, (816) 513-1173.

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