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All eyes on Kansas statehouse as legislators discuss bill to entice Chiefs, Royals

Kansas Capitol June 2024.jpg
Posted at 12:49 PM, Jun 17, 2024

TOPEKA, Kan. — Draft legislation aimed to entice the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals across the state line was released Monday as Kansas legislators return to Topeka for a special session Tuesday.

But before Tuesday’s special session — which was originally called by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to hash out a tax reform package — the Joint Committee Senate Commerce and House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development plans to review and take testimony on the proposal.

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According to a draft of the legislation obtained by KSHB 41 reporter Charlie Keegan, legislators could potentially vote on a plan with several key components:

  • Allows for up to two professional sports franchises — NFL and MLB — to be eligible for sales tax and revenue bonds (STAR Bonds);
  • The usage of STAR Bonds to cover up to 75% of project costs (the current cap is 50%);
  • Allow non-contiguous project districts. For instance, a stadium/entertainment complex could be in one location with practice facilities in a different location but all part of the same project;
  • Requirement of a combined capital investment of $1 billion;
  • Local jurisdictions would be allowed to opt out of the STAR Bond district, allowing them to capture sales tax revenues;
  • The project would also allow borrowing against future revenues from the Attracting Processional Sports to Kansas fund that was created when the state legalized sports wagering.

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The draft legislation would sunset on June 30, 2025, though the State Finance Council could authorize a one-year extension.

The draft bill could be marked up and changed before it potentially goes up for a vote in each chamber.

Over the weekend, Scoop and Score, an organization formed in May to help bolster public opinion in support of a Chiefs and/or Royals move to Kansas, sent at least the fourth round of text messages to cell phones across Kansas City.

Sunday's message cited efforts by "other major cities around the country" getting ready to offer incentive packages to the Chiefs to relocate.

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A text message sent to cell phone subscribers on Sunday, June 16, 2024.