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Chiefs, Royals mobilize to get voters to support free money for stadiums

One of the basic truths of the stadium-financing game is that it's easier to get public money without a public vote. When the question of breaking the taxpayer piggy bank lands in the ballot box, the voters typically refuse to write the check.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals want to change that narrative.

In Jackson County, Missouri, an effort to extend a sales tax for the financing of the Chiefs' and Royals' stadiums will culminate in an April 2 special election. And the local teams are trying to move the needle.

The Royals want a new stadium. The Chiefs want to renovate Arrowhead. The extension of the 3/8th of a cent sales tax would generate $2 billion in free money for both projects.

County executive Frank White initially vetoed the special election. The Jackson County legislature overturned the veto by a 7-2 vote, setting the stage for the public vote.

The Chiefs posted on social media earlier this week a commercial that urges voters to support the measure. It includes pleas from tight end Travis Kelce, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and coach Andy Reid.

Here's what the commercial says: "We need you to vote 'yes' on question one. We've all made Kansas City a major-league city. Let's keep it that way. There's no better place in the world to play than Arrowhead Stadium. Let's keep it that way. . . . We need you guys. We need you. Let's keep this rolling."

Will it be enough? And what happens if the effort fails?

"We've all made Kansas City a major-league city. Let's keep it that way." That can be interpreted in multiple ways.

The reality is that, in a league full of folks who have amassed billions under the auspices of capitalism, there's rarely any hesitation about embracing selective socialism when it comes to paying for their stadiums.

Which is one of the main reasons why such ballot initiatives typically fail. Why should the average citizen who doesn't care about baseball or football vote to give free money to a multi-billion-dollar business that can pay for its own stadium construction and renovation?

We'll see how this one goes. If any team in the NFL is ever going to pull it off, it's the current version of the Kansas City Chiefs. If they can't, no other team should try.