Other tools Kansas may consider in effort to lure pro sports teams

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas lawmakers are likely to be called back for a special session when Governor Laura Kelly vetoes the latest tax cut package approved early Wednesday morning. That would give the legislature a chance to also hold hearings and revisit stadium STAR bonds to attract the Kansas City Chiefs, or possibly the Kansas City Royals.

Commerce Committee Chair Sean Tarwater told FOX4 during an interview for Sunday’s 4 The People that it’s possible the bill could also include a “port authority” similar to the version on the Missouri side, with its own ability to provide incentives.

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“Currently Wyandotte County doesn’t have it, but we’re looking at maybe adding that as well. We want to try to make the tool belt as large as possible and make sure that we have the right tools to bring them and compete,” Tarwater said.

He also touched on concerns brought up in the aftermath of this news coming out earlier this week that STAR bonds won’t be enough to achieve what they want to do.

“Nothing in the bill says we’re going to finance 100% of the stadium. This is one of many tools. We put ‘up to 100%’ in the bill that we ran last time, that most likely will be there this time,” he said.

“It’s not out of the question for some of these investors to be the Chiefs themselves, if it were the Chiefs that were to come, or the Royals that come. They can buy their own bonds and then they’ll collect the sales tax.”

While STAR bonds would not require a public vote because they use new sales tax dollars created by a stadium and development around it, a “port authority” would require a statewide vote.

Kansas’ efforts didn’t go unnoticed in Jackson County, where both teams currently play. In the aftermath of a failed sales tax extension in April, a county legislator told FOX4 he’s proposing a “Chiefs-only” sales tax that will be presented on May 13.

For more of our conversation on Kansas and its efforts to recruit the Chiefs, join us Sunday morning at 10.

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