© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Here's where Kansas City elected officials stand on the April 2 sales tax vote and stadium plan

Two signs are shown side by side. One on left is blue and white and reads "No on the Downtown Stadium." The one at right is red and white and reads "Yes on 1."
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Two signs in Kansas City's Crossroads district are displayed on March 25, 2024, on different businesses near the area where the Royals have proposed building a new ballpark.

KCUR asked members of the Kansas City Council and the Jackson County Legislature how they plan to vote on the stadium sales tax on April 2.

On April 2, Jackson County residents will decide whether to approve a stadium sales tax that would fund a new ballpark for the Kansas City Royals and renovations at the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium. Some residents have already cast their votes, as no-excuse early voting started March 19.

Both teams have said passage of the 3/8th-cent sales tax is crucial for them to move forward with their respective projects and stay in Jackson County. The tax is expected to generate about $2 billion over 40 years, which will be split evenly between the Royals and Chiefs.

Jackson County legislators were responsible for putting the stadium tax on the ballot back in January — even overriding a veto from County Executive Frank White to do so. The teams released broad details about the community benefits agreement with the county, but the legislature has yet to formally adopt it.

If the tax passes and the Royals move forward with the ballpark project, Kansas City Council members are likely to take up infrastructure issues, such as a zoning change to accommodate a ballpark, street closures and the demolition of buildings in the impacted area.

The Royals might also ask for funding from Kansas City, as the team is reportedly still facing a $700 million financing gap it hopes Missouri and Kansas City can fill.

KCUR asked elected officials from the City Council and the Jackson County Legislature how they plan to vote come April 2, the reasoning behind their vote, their thoughts on the Royals’ Crossroads proposal and if they think leases and community benefits agreements should be finalized before April 2. City Council members were also asked if they would support city funding — through direct funding or a tax incentive deal — for the Royals’ ballpark.

Kansas City Council

More than half of city council members either did not respond to KCUR’s multiple requests for comment or said they would not comment on how they planned to vote.

Mayor Quinton Lucas
Response: Yes. Said on X after this story was originally published that the issue of how the stadium will impact businesses "is important to voters and important to me, which is why I am yet to endorse one way or another." A week later, Lucas officially endorsed "yes."
Additional comments: “The Royals will have to ask us for support through any number of ways, but not through us just putting out a $400 million tax increase,” Lucas said on KCUR’s Up to Date. "I think a generation ago I was one of the 53% of Jackson Countians who was a yes vote. The theory there being for retention of the teams, I consider myself to be in the same position. I still have questions I want to answer, and it would mean a lot for my yes vote and make it stronger."

Kevin O’Neill, 1st District At-Large
Response: None

Nathan Willett, 1st District
Response: “As a Northlander, I am not going to tell Jackson County how to vote on this issue.”
Additional comments: “As a Councilmember — if the measure passes, I do not see it as an endorsement of the current development plan proposed by the Royals. Oak Street is an important artery of our city and I will work with our neighbors, my colleagues, and local businesses to make sure it stays open. Oak should not be vacated.”

Lindsay French, 2nd District At-Large
Response: None

Wes Rogers, 2nd District
Response: None

Melissa Patterson Hazley, 3rd District At-Large
Response: “I don’t want to mix my actions as a voter with my actions as an elected official.”
Additional comments: “If the voters decide to pass this tax extension, City Council will likely be asked to consider some financial or zoning actions. For these reasons, I do not wish to share comments in the press or to divulge how I plan to vote at the ballot box.”

Melissa Robinson, 3rd District
Response: “I am waiting on the results from the Community Benefits agreement and a clear ask from the City.”

Crispin Rea, 4th District At-Large
Response: None

Eric Bunch, 4th District 
Response: “I’m staying out of this one for now.”

Darrell Curls, 5th District At-Large
Response: None

Ryana Parks-Shaw, 5th District
Response: None

Andrea Bough, 6th District At-Large
Response: “No comment.”

Johnathan Duncan, 6th District
Response: Will vote no.
Additional comments: “I don't think taxpayers should foot the bill for billionaires, period. … I want to know the financial details and the disclosure of a financial analysis to be an informed voter. And we don't have that.”

Jackson County Legislature

County Executive Frank White
Response: Will vote no.
Additional comments: “The new sales tax proposal is expected to generate more than $2 billion for the teams over 40 years. This places a substantial financial burden on our taxpayers without offering clear, long-term benefits to the community or an equitable share of revenue to support essential services like healthcare, public safety, and infrastructure. It's a bad deal for taxpayers.”

Jalen Anderson, 1st District At-Large
Response: None

Manny Abarca IV, 1st District
Response: Will vote yes.
Additional comments: “I believe that the deal that we've made at the community benefits table is both historic and transformational.”

Donna Peyton, 2nd District At-Large
Response: Will vote yes.
Additional comments: “I know the need of having a vision that will propel that business or organization into the future as a viable, strategic and valuable to their community. The Royals and Chiefs are doing just that. I support their efforts to remain world-class teams competing in world-class facilities. Additionally, this is not a new tax. I support renewing the current sales tax.”

Venessa Huskey, 2nd District 
Response: Will vote yes.
Additional comments: “A 3/8 cent sales tax is an extension to what I pay now. If it does not pass, the Chiefs & the Royals will relocate.”

Megan Marshall, 3rd District At-Large
Response: None

Charlie Franklin, 3rd District
Response: Will vote yes.

DaRon McGee, 4th District
Response: None

Jeanie Lauer, 5th District
Response: None

Sean Smith, 6th District
Response: None

Updated: April 1, 2024 at 9:38 AM CDT
This article has been updated with new information.
As KCUR’s Missouri politics and government reporter, it’s my job to show how government touches every aspect of our lives. I break down political jargon so people can easily understand policies and how it affects them. My work is people-forward and centered on civic engagement and democracy. I hold political leaders and public officials accountable for the decisions they make and their impact on our communities. Follow me on Twitter @celisa_mia or email me at celisa@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.