Stadium tax measure for Kansas City Chiefs and Royals will appear on the ballot for April 2, 2024

Voters in Jackson County, Missouri, will decide on a ballot measure to renew a sales tax that provides funding for stadium improvements for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. Voters will decide the ballot measure on April 2, 2024. The Jackson County Legislature overrode a veto from County Executive Frank White on Jan. 22.

The Chiefs and Royals issued a joint statement on Jan. 22, which said, “We took an important step forward today. We thank the Jackson County legislators for their attention and care in this matter. We look forward to continuing to work with them, and enabling voters to decide on extending the longstanding partnership between the County and our teams on April 2.”

On Jan. 8, 2024, the Jackson County Legislature voted 8-1 to place the measure on the ballot. On Jan. 18, County Executive Frank White, a former professional baseball player, vetoed the ordinance for the ballot measure. He said, “This proposed sales tax would generate over $2 billion from our residents, yet there is no clear understanding or assurance regarding the teams’ commitments and contributions to the county. It’s not a good deal for taxpayers and I cannot support an agreement that is not in their best interest.” On Jan. 22, the Jackson County Legislature overrode his veto with a vote of 7-2, allowing the measure to appear on the ballot for April 2.

The ballot measure would renew an existing 0.375% sales tax, which is set to expire in 2031, for an additional 40 years through 2071. The renewed sales tax would provide funding for park improvements to Arrowhead Stadium, which is used by the Kansas City Chiefs, and for the construction of a new stadium for the Kansas City Royals.

Voters approved the existing 0.375% sales tax on April 4, 2006, with funding directed toward improving the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex, which includes Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. The original ballot measure enacted the tax for 25 years, which is through 2031. The stadium leases for the Chiefs and Royals also expire in 2031. The Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals have not negotiated new leases or development agreements with Jackson County.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D), who supports the tax measure, said, “Retaining the Chiefs and the Royals and the events hosted at the teams’ facilities like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift and global sporting events like the MLB All-Star Game and the World Cup is a priority for Kansas City – at a fair value to taxpayers.”

The ballot measure is the first of 2024 related to tax revenue or other economic incentives for sports stadiums. In 2023, there were at least two. In Tempe, Arizona, voters rejected a redevelopment plan for a professional sports franchise and entertainment district. In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, voters approved a sales tax measure to provide funding for a downtown arena for the Oklahoma City Thunder, a professional basketball team.