New homes for Chiefs, Royals face hurdle after county official vetoes stadium tax

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By Dan Sears

A proposed tax that would help fund new stadiums for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and baseball’s Kansas City Royals was shot down by a local Missouri legislator.

Jackson County Executive Frank White vetoed an ordinance Thursday that would have put a 3/8th-cent sales tax renewal on the April ballot to fund the projects.

“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 in a news release, the Kansas City Star reported. “It’s not a good deal for taxpayers and I cannot support an agreement that is not in their best interest.”

Shortly after the veto announcement, four county legislators said they sided with White. In order to override White’s veto, the County Legislature — which has nine members — would need six votes. They are approaching a Jan. 23 deadline to put the stadium tax decision in front of voters this spring.

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The Royals and Chiefs released a joint statement after White’s veto that said, “We respect the County Executive’s veto authority. We will continue working with the legislators to ensure that this ordinance is on the ballot on April 2 so that Jackson County voters have the opportunity to decide on the extension of the current 3/8th-cent sales tax.”


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
The Chiefs and Royals said they will continue working with the legislators to ensure that this ordinance is on the ballot on April 2. Jon Robichaud/UPI/Shutterstock

The Royals are seeking to use the sales tax to help fund building a new downtown ballpark, though they have not yet announced their location. The Chiefs have consistently stated their intentions to renovate Arrowhead Stadium.

The current stadium leases at the Truman Sports Complex expire in 2031. Although some legislators pointed out Thursday that April isn’t the only ballot in 2024 or in the years ahead of that expiration date, both teams have targeted April for the measure. They are said to have support from the current governor’s office, which has pushed their urgency.

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Kauffman Stadium
The Royals are seeking to use the sales tax to help fund building a new downtown ballpark. Kauffman Stadium, above. AP

On Jan. 8, county legislators voted 8-1 to approve ballot language for the new 3/8th-cent sales tax to replace the current one that expires in September 2031. White wasn’t in favor of that at the time and wanted more time to get additional concessions from the teams for the county in the deal.

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