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'This is a victory': Jackson County holds decision on whether sales tax extension will appear on ballot

Stand Up KC workers weigh in on legislature's decision
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Posted at 2:00 PM, Dec 29, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friday, Jackson County legislators decided to hold their vote in asking taxpayers to extend an existing sales tax.

The proposal would ask voters for a 40-year extension on the 3/8-cent sales tax for the two stadiums.

The money from the sales tax would continue to go toward the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals stadiums.

However, some legislators want more discussion ensuring rules are followed, and a whole lot more answers from the Royals.

VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Megan Abundis

“Considering we don’t even know what location they are looking to place the Royals,” said Jeanie Lauer, Jackson County legislator.

Legislators say they won’t rush a decision while they continue to wait on the team's answers.

“We cannot make a mistake, we cannot cut corners," said Jalen Anderson, Jackson County Legislator. "We are representing all Jackson Countians, not just the chosen few who may want a downtown stadium, who may want this to go on the ballot.”

In the meeting legislators held no discussion or a pause, just a vote to table and hold the sales tax extension for voters.

Stand Up KC workers call it a victory for their movement.

“I got the impression that if we weren’t here in full force, this thing would be pushed through on a whim, so I think our presence very much impacted their thoughts,” Terrence Wise with Stand Up KC said.

“They are not just going to take my hard-earned money and not give us anything in return,” said Bill Thompson, another worker with Stand Up KC.

Thompson’s been a service worker for 35 years and this stadium move directly impacts his job. He says he’s focused on ensuring a community benefits agreement.

“As the Royals have said, they want this move and construction to be a live, work and play,” he said. “Well, we can’t afford to live, work or play without affordable housing or a living wage. We want the community benefits agreement to come first and right now they’re putting the workers last in this project. It’s our money they are taking out of our pockets, we want something for the community to lift it up.”

Wise says because this decision will impact KC for the next 40 years, it's not something we should rush into.

“Whether it gets on the April ballot, this 3/8 cent gets passed, should be the afterthought," he said. "Before the Royals get any of our tax dollars or any agreement signed, they need to have a seat at this table with folks in this coalition to talk about what a strong community benefits agreement looks like.”

Legislators told KSHB 41 News that the county is meeting with the Royals to see what they can get done.

“I know it seems like it’s a very short period of time, but I know they are meeting frequently and regularly to see what they can do to address things in this short period of time,” Lauer said.

“I will say, I’m being patient in all of this, we will do the right thing for taxpayers,” Anderson said. “Rushing into anything and trying to get something done because of this feeling of hurrying is a very dangerous thing. We’ve never really taken on this amount of changes that want to be done at the Truman Sports Complex, and this is much different than 2006. The Royals want to move, but again, I hope they stay in Jackson County, but we need to know where they are going first off and what’s their plan for that specific area.”

Jan. 23 is the deadline for an initiative to be placed on April’s ballot.

The team is expected to announce a new stadium site in 2024.