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Voters reject stadium tax plan designed to aid Kansas City major league teams

Jackson County residents have rejected a tax that would help keep two of Kansas City’s most popular sports teams in the area.

Featured image credit: Kj1595/CC BY-SA 4.0

Residents of Jackson County in Missouri have resoundingly voted down a sales tax measure that would have helped to fund a new downtown baseball stadium and fund renovations to Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium.

More than 58% of voters rejected the plan which would have extended an existing three-eighths of a cent sales tax that has been paying for the maintenance of Truman Sports Complex – the home to Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadiums. Kauffman Stadium stages home games of Major League Baseball (MLB) team Kansas City Royals and is adjacent to Arrowhead Stadium.

It has been suggested that the rejection of the sales tax could lead to the teams departing the city. Kansas City mayor Quinton Lucas wrote on social media that he will be working with both teams to ensure they remain in Kansas City “for generations to come”.

“We respect the voters of Jackson County and the results of the election today,” read a Kansas City Royals statement.

“We will take some time to reflect on and process the outcome and find a path forward that works for the Royals and our fans.”

In the run-up to the vote, the Chiefs claimed that it was not a new tax or even a tax increase, but a request to extend the agreement to have the same sales tax at the same percentage. It has been in place for the past 50 years and this would have seen it last for another 40.

The Royals wanted to use their share of the tax revenue to help fund a $2bn (£1.5bn/€1.85bn) ballpark district. As well as a 34,000-capacity stadium, the district will include local restaurants and shops, office spaces, hotels, and a variety of affordable housing opportunities.

Super Bowl champions Chiefs would have used their share as part of an $800m redevelopment of the 76,416-seat Arrowhead Stadium. The venue is the third-oldest active stadium in the National Football League after opening in August of 1972. Kauffman Stadium, meanwhile, is the sixth-oldest active MLB stadium following its first game in April 1973.

Chiefs president Mark Donovan said the team would do “what is in the best interest of our fans and our organisation as we move forward.”