Royals, Chiefs pledge to stay in Missouri if voters pass sales tax extension in April

(The Center Square) – The Kansas City Chiefs football team and Kansas City Royals baseball team both say they would stay in Jackson County if voters in April approve an extension of a sales tax for a new stadium and improvements.

After weeks of debate and meetings, the Jackson County Legislature voted 8-1 Monday to put a 40-year sales tax extension on the April 2 ballot. Voters will decide on the 3/8-cent sales tax to begin in 2031 and continuing for 40 years.

In 2006, Jackson County voters approved a countywide sales tax of the same amount for 25 years to improve and modernize the Harry S Truman Sports Complex, where the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium and the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium are located. The county is currently negotiating a new lease with the National Football League’s Chiefs for improvements to Arrowhead. The county and city are working together on proposals to build a new stadium for Major League Baseball’s Royals, presumably downtown.

“Retaining the Chiefs and the Royals and the events hosted at the [teams’] facilities like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and global sporting events like the MLB All-Star Game and the World Cup is a priority for Kansas City – at a fair value for our taxpayers,” Democratic Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The teams released a joint statement on Friday emphasizing their desire to stay in the county. The statement came the day after a meeting among both teams, Jackson County Executive Frank White — a former player for the Royals — Lucas, and other staff members and lawyers, according to the Kansas City Star.

“The Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals today announced their commitment to remain in Jackson County if Jackson County voters approve an extension of the 3/8-cent sales tax on a ballot initiative this April,” the joint statement said. “The Chiefs and the Royals have partnered with Jackson County for 50 years in a partnership that has worked well for all constituents.”

The teams say they agreed to provide more than $200 million in “new economic benefits to Jackson County over 40 years in a new lease agreement,” according to the release. The teams claim the county would save $80 million to $100 million by transferring the insurance payments from the county to the teams under new leases. The county also would be able to reallocate each team’s share of an existing property tax, worth approximately $140 million, for other needs.

“Under the agreement, the Chiefs will conduct an extensive renovation to iconic Arrowhead Stadium,” the release stated. “The Royals will build a new downtown stadium and privately fund a $1 billion ballpark district.”

The new baseball stadium will be a public-private partnership and cost approximately $1 billion.

“As we navigate these crucial negotiations involving potential commitments of billions of taxpayer dollars, I want to make it abundantly clear: I have not, and will not, rush into any agreement,” White told the Kansas City Star last week.

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