Jackson County overrides veto to put 40-year stadium sales tax on April ballot

(The Center Square) – The Jackson County Legislature voted on Monday to override County Executive Frank White’s veto and place a 3/8-cent sales tax on the April 2 ballot to pay for new or improved professional sports stadiums.

By a 7-2 margin, the legislators gave voters the decision whether to extend the sales tax beginning in 2031 and running 40 years. The current 3/8-cent sales tax, approved in 2006, is scheduled to end in 2031.

Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals and the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs both applauded the vote.

“We took an important step forward today,” the teams said in a joint statement. “We thank the Jackson County legislators for their attention and care in this matter. We look forward to continuing to work with them and enabling the voters to decide on extending the longstanding partnership between the County and our teams on April 2.”

The legislature voted 8-1 in December to put the sales tax before the voters. Earlier this month, Kansas City’s major league teams pledged to stay in Jackson County if the tax to pay for a new baseball stadium and for improvements for the football stadium was approved by voters.

Jackson County Executive Frank White, a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, vetoed the measure last week. After White’s veto, four legislators publicly stated they wouldn’t vote to override, which required six of the nine members to overturn the action.

Approximately 30 minutes before Monday’s meeting was scheduled to start, White posted a two-page letter on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, listing unresolved issues with the teams. Late last week, the teams provided a 22-page non-binding letter of intent on financing, development, construction, operation, use, occupancy and oversight of the stadiums.

“As I have consistently said during this process, 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,” White posted on X.

He listed five unresolved issues, including the exact location of where the Royals plan to build a new stadium. He also said a firm commitment from the Chiefs to keep their headquarters and training facilities in Jackson County was necessary.

White also posted a scorecard with red, yellow or green traffic signals communicating the status of 10 unresolved issues. Four were yellow and six were red.

Both teams ran video advertisements on social media during the past few days urging citizens to call their legislators and request a public vote with the tagline, “Jackson County deserves to vote.”

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