As the discussions around the proposed stadium tax for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs continue to evolve, it is important that the residents of Jackson County are provided with a comprehensive understanding of the current situation and the stakes involved.
As evidenced in the last few days, the situation around the proposed stadium sales tax is rapidly changing. Notably, some legislators who initially supported my veto of the stadium sales tax ordinance have shifted their stance and now plan to vote for its override. This change is a stark reminder of the complex and high-pressure environment surrounding this issue. The escalating political pressure on our county legislators is a matter of concern and highlights the need for clear, informed decision-making.
The teams have taken a step forward by signing a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI). However, while this document provides additional information, it is crucial to emphasize that it is not binding and does not provide fair and equitable solutions to key unresolved issues. To ensure transparency, we will release a “scorecard” detailing these issues alongside this statement.
Among the critical unresolved issues are:
- Detailed Stadium Plans: It’s vital to know exactly where the Royals plan to build their new stadium. The location will have significant implications for our community, affecting everything from infrastructure to local businesses.
- Investment Commitments: Understanding what investments each team is willing to commit to, including specifics on the nature, timing and magnitude of these investments, is essential. This information is key to assessing the long-term benefits and sustainability of the proposed projects.
- Chiefs’ Commitment to Jackson County: We need a firm commitment from the Chiefs that they will not relocate their headquarters or training facilities outside of Jackson County during the lease term. This assurance is crucial for maintaining the economic benefits these facilities bring to our community.
- Enforceable Leases: The LOI’s non-binding nature highlights the need for signed, enforceable leases. These documents must legally bind the teams to their commitments, ensuring that the interests of Jackson County residents are protected.
- Community Benefits Agreement: A strong and binding community benefits agreement is imperative. Such an agreement should outline how the teams will positively contribute to our community in tangible, measurable ways, including labor standards and community engagement initiatives.
The potential investment from Jackson County in this sales tax proposal is substantial, with more than $2 billion in tax dollars allocated to the teams over a 40-year period. Given the magnitude of this investment, it is essential that we proceed with caution and clarity. We owe it to our residents to negotiate a deal that is not only fair but also provides clear, long-term benefits to our community.
As the April vote approaches, I am committed to working with all parties involved to reach an agreement that meets these critical needs. We will also work closely with the chair and vice-chair of the legislature to ensure that factual information is disseminated widely and that residents have ample opportunities to have their questions answered. While the path forward is challenging, I remain hopeful. My goal is to reach a fair and equitable agreement for Jackson County, one that respects the significant financial commitment of our taxpayers and contributes positively to the legacy and future of our community