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County wants voter approval for Royals, Chiefs stadium sales tax from 2031 to 2071

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(The Center Square) – Jackson County leaders will decide on asking voters for a countywide sales tax, starting in 2031 and running for 40 years, for stadium construction and maintenance for Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals and the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs.

The Jackson County Legislature is scheduled to review and vote on the ordinance on Monday to require a special election for the initiative on April 2, 2024. It would ask voters to approve a three-eighths of one cent sales tax to begin on Oct. 1, 2031, and continue for 40 years. Proposed leases, currently being negotiated with the Chiefs and Royals, would probably extend to 2071.

“We believe a 40-year extension of the existing sales tax will bring transformational growth to Jackson County and the region and provide the best future for both the Royals and Chiefs,” the Royals said in a statement provided to multiple media outlets. “We look forward to working with the Chiefs and county to earn voters’ support.”

The ordinance states the current sales tax can’t be extended under existing laws because the initiative includes more than one project. In 2006, Jackson County voters approved a countywide sales tax of three-eighths of 1% for 25 years to improve and modernize the Harry S Truman Sports Complex where both stadiums are located.

The ballot language states the tax would fund “park improvements, consisting of developing, furnishing, equipping, repairing, maintaining, and operating Arrowhead Stadium and its surrounds, to retain the Kansas City Chiefs … and developing, furnishing, equipping, repairing, maintaining, and operating a new stadium in Kansas City … to retain the Kansas City Royals Baseball team in Jackson County.”

The proposed ballot measure was introduced by Jackson County Chairman DaRon McGee. The ordinance states improvements and modernization of existing facilities and development of a new facility are necessary “to ensure that the stadiums remain nationally competitive in the marketplace of professional sports for the foreseeable future.”

The National Football League’s Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016. The St. Louis region filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke, resulting in a settlement of $790 million. The settlement was the first of its kind with a city that lost a professional sports franchise because it was moved to another market.

In August, the Royals unveiled renderings and economic data for two stadium sites, one in East Village in downtown Kansas City and another in North Kansas City. The Royals estimate the new development would cost more than $2 billion and are advocating for a public-private partnership. The organization would like the new stadium to be complete for the start of the season in 2028.

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