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Group forms committee to campaign against Royals, Chiefs sales tax question

Organizers feel the Royals haven’t lived up to their promises
Anti-Royals Campaign.jpg
Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 21, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A group who opposes the Kansas City Royals plan to use money from a sales tax to build a new stadium in downtown’s Crossroads neighborhood have formally created a committee to campaign against the question on April 2’s ballot.

Records with the Missouri Ethics Commission confirm the formal creation of the “Committee Against New Royals Stadium Taxes.”

Former Kansas City Councilmember Becky Nace is the committee’s chair.

“We don’t need a new stadium,” Nace said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the new committee.

Nace and the committee believe the team should renovate Kauffman Stadium at its current location at the Truman Sports Complex. The committee argued the Royals’ economic impact promises from a downtown stadium are inflated and cause too much collateral damage to existing business.

Nace pointed out the Royals and Chiefs do not have formal lease agreements or community benefits agreements in place with Jackson County.

"It puts you, the Jackson County taxpayers, at risk,” Nace said.

Earlier in the month, the Royals and Chiefs formed their own political group, “The Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County.” State records show each team has donated $500,000 to the committee.

KSHB 41 News confirmed Wednesday the committee working for the two teams hired former Kansas City Mayor Sly James and his consulting firm, Wickham James Strategies & Solutions, to work on the campaign.

The Royals said they are working on new leases and community benefits agreements. The teams also highlighted how it plans to invest more than $1 billion in private funds in the project. The Royals released a statement Wednesday which said its investments will create new jobs and called the current sales tax a “proven partnership” for Jackson County.

“A YES vote for this partnership will continue the same level of tax support – 3/8 cent – and will result in additional tangible benefits to meet the needs of our community, including over $200 million in new economic benefits to the County," according to the statement from the Royals.

Election day is April 2.

Voters in Jackson County will decide whether to repeal an existing 3/8th-cent sales tax that pays for maintenance of the two stadiums and is set to expire in 2031. A “yes” vote would replace the current tax with a new sales tax, also at a rate of 3/8th-cent, but for a period of 40 years. Many estimate the tax would collect approximately $1 billion for each team over the course of the tax.

The Chiefs would use their share of the money to renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, but they have not released specifics.

The Royals would use their share of the money to help pay for a new stadium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals announced their preferred location for a new stadium is in the Crossroads; bordered by Grand Boulevard on the west, Truman Road on the north, Locust Street on the east, and 17th Street on the south.