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Group Fighting Kansas City Convention Hotel TIF Gives Up On Forcing Election

A group that challenged tax breaks for a $310 million downtown Kansas City convention hotel announced Tuesday that it will not challenge a judge's ruling that the city does not have to honor their petition drive to force a public vote. 

A Jackson County judge ruled in agreement with the city that though Citizens for Responsible Government collected the required number of valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot, doing so could require the city to illegally default on already-signed development agreements.

Spokesman Dan Coffey said Citizens for Responsible Government will focus on other approaches to reducing the use of tax increment financing.

Coffey said he was not at liberty to discuss them in detail, but that two bills are being considered in Jefferson City that would change the “the way TIFs work.”

He also said the group might propose some changes to TIF policy to local officials, though he expressed some skepticism about whether suggestions would be accepted.

Coffey said his group had been divided on whether to pursue a vote on the hotel TIF, but finally decided it would be better to devote their resources to other approaches. An appeal could have cost the group as much as $18,000. 

Steve Bell is afternoon news anchor and business news reporter for KCUR.  He may be reached at 816-235-5173 or by e-mail as steveb@kcur.org

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