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How STAR bonds work and how Kansas could use them to attract the Chiefs

Lawmakers have eyes on luring a professional team to Kansas
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Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 05, 2024

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — When the Kansas Legislature convenes for a special session on June 18, lawmakers plan to bring forward a proposal modifying the state’s STAR bond program to help Kansas attract a professional sports team like the Chiefs.

Legislators reached out to the team this week.

Kansas Rep. Sean Tarwater and others tried to pass a proposal in the final days of the state’s regular session, but ran out of time.

Tarwater said the proposal he’ll introduce this month allows STAR bonds to cover 75 percent of a project’s cost instead of the current cap of 50 percent.

Tarwater’s proposal would also change investment minimums for projects applying for STAR bonds.

These bonds are essentially loans that allow developers to build attractions.

The state and other municipalities pay back the bond using sales tax revenue generated at the attraction. There are no new taxes.

Children’s Mercy Park and Kansas Speedway are examples of developments which benefited from STAR bonds.

STAR bonds do not change the sales tax rate within a project site.

Only people who buy things within the site pay for the bond.

The Chiefs have not commented on the proposal.

There is no specific site for a stadium and no estimated cost for a stadium and accompanying district.

Using STAR bonds does not require voter approval.

Voters in Jackson County rejected a sales tax proposal in April to help fund stadium renovations for the Chiefs and a new downtown stadium for the Royals.