FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 18, 2024
Three County Legislators issue joint statement in support of veto
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. has exercised his veto power on Ordinance 5822, a proposal for a substantial sales tax to retain the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs in Jackson County. This decisive move signals County Executive White’s commitment to securing a fair and equitable agreement for taxpayers before advancing the ordinance to a public vote.
County Executive White, in his veto message, acknowledged the important role both teams play in the community. Yet, he stressed that attaining a favorable agreement for Jackson County would require further in-depth discussions and thoughtful negotiation.
“This proposed sales tax would generate over $2 billion from our residents, yet there is no clear understanding or assurance regarding the teams’ commitments and contributions to the county,” White said. “It’s not a good deal for taxpayers and I cannot support an agreement that is not in their best interest.”
County Executive White outlined that a definitive, binding agreement would not only include financial concessions, but also commitments to maintain team headquarters and training facilities in Jackson County and robust community benefit agreements. He urged the Legislature to reconsider the matter thoughtfully, focusing on securing a concrete and mutually beneficial agreement with the teams before seeking such a substantial financial commitment from residents.
“We are not just retaining sports teams. We are opening doors to a future where sports investment translates into community prosperity, economic growth and an enhanced quality of life,” White said. “I am committed to working collaboratively to find a solution that honors our longstanding partnerships while upholding our responsibility to the taxpayers of Jackson County.”
A copy of the County Executive’s veto message is below, as well as a joint statement from three County Legislators supporting the County Executive’s veto. The County Executive will be available for interviews following the Legislative meeting on Monday, January 22.
To: Residents of Jackson County
From: Legislative Chair Jeanie Lauer, Legislative Vice-Chair Megan Marshall, and 1st District Legislator at-large Jalen Anderson
Date: January 18, 2024
Subject: Statement in support of the County Executive’s Veto of Ordinance No. 5822
Dear Residents of Jackson County,
As your elected representatives, we are dedicated to ensuring that any agreement with the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs aligns with the best interests of our community and reflects a balance of fairness and responsibility. We support County Executive Frank White, Jr.’s veto, will vote to sustain it, and emphasize that further negotiations should be conducted with his office, as they are responsible for representing our county’s interests.
It is striking to note that the proposed financial commitment to these teams significantly surpasses the combined annual budget allocated for all our parks, playgrounds, trails, roads, and bridges. This disparity highlights the importance of reaching agreements that are not only equitable but also prioritize the wider needs and services crucial to our community.
1. Jackson County Resident Preference Plan: A substantial benefit for our county’s residents, designed to match or surpass comparable initiatives in the MLB and NFL over the entire length of the agreement.
2. Local Presence of Teams: Commitment to keeping front offices, training facilities, and essential operations within Jackson County.
3. Insurance and Indemnification: Transitioning insurance responsibilities to the teams by 2025 for taxpayer savings.
4. Parks Tax Reimbursement: Restoring $3.5 million annually from our parks levy by 2025.
5. Rental Fee: A fair rental/licensing fee, inflation-adjusted, from each team.
6. Stadium Demolition: Teams to bear the costs, with no additional county funds required.
Frank White, Jr., County Executive
7. Community Benefits Agreements: Enforceable agreements for long-term community benefits.
8. Royals’ New Stadium Location: The specific location of the Kansas City Royals’ new stadium must be confirmed.
9. Chiefs’ Improvement Plans: The Chiefs must provide detailed plans for Arrowhead improvements and their vision for the complex post-Royals relocation.
10. Private Capital Investment: Both teams must commit to the amount of private capital they are willing to invest in these projects.
To further protect the interests of Jackson County, the county will handle any necessary bonding for the Royals project, adhering to prudent financial principles. Additionally, we will not advance with agreements that could expose the county to future financial or legal risks. Our focus remains on safeguarding our community’s interests in these significant negotiations. We are firmly committed to only supporting agreements or moving forward with a ballot question once these and other critical issues are resolved. It would be irresponsible to present this matter to the voters without first ensuring that all significant aspects have been addressed comprehensively and to the benefit of Jackson County.
Timeline for Agreement: We want to remind everyone that we have seven years remaining on our current deal, with additional election dates available in 2024 and beyond. This provides us with ample opportunity to negotiate thoughtfully and thoroughly.
Our approach is anchored in a deep commitment to the welfare and prosperity of Jackson County residents. We urge the teams to engage in these discussions with a sense of responsibility
Jeanie Lauer, Legislative Chair
Megan Marshall, Legislative Vice-Chair
Jalen Anderson, 1st District Legislator at-large