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Letter to Royals, Chiefs causes more clashes in battle over stadium tax

By Betsy Webster

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) — The campaign to extend a Jackson County sales tax for the Chiefs and Royals is giving County Executive Frank White an earful after he asked the teams to fund the election on the tax.

The “Yes on 1″ campaign posted the following statement on X.

“The Chiefs and the Royals are focused on finalizing leases and a CBA to extend and enhance our 50-year partnership with Jackson County, including more than $1.3 billion in private funding committed between the two teams that will spur thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in labor income annually. All with no increase in taxes. Political antics should not stand in the way of those benefits.”

White sent a letter to Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt and Royals CEO John Sherman Thursday asking the teams to foot the nearly $1 million bill for the April election. In the letter, he remarked on the teams’ $2 million in contributions to the Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County, the political organization disseminating advertisements encouraging voters to pass the tax.

“This request is underscored by a keen understanding of the financial implications and is made in the spirit of the longstanding partnership that has characterized our relationship, clearly illustrating not only your vested interest in the outcome but also your financial capacity to support these costs,” the letter read in part.

The election is less than three weeks away. On Monday, the Jackson County Legislature is set to vote on a resolution to allocate $998,000 from the general fund to pay for the election.

In January, when the legislature voted to put the tax measure on the April ballot, White vetoed the ordinance. The legislature overrode his veto. Legislature Chairman Jeanie Lauer and Vice-Chair Megan Marshall voted to sustain his veto.

Concerns were raised about the cost of putting the measure on the April ballot, among other things. Legislator Manny Abarca criticized White’s latest move, saying he’s not opposed to having the teams foot the bill, but now is not the time to propose it.

“I just think it should have happened probably like three months ago,” Abarca said. “That reality could have certainly been solidified then. But now to come three weeks before the election, this is potshots at an election that’s ongoing.”

He expressed concern about the request at this stage affecting negotiations for a Community Benefits Agreement. The election will take place on April 2. Absentee and early voting is already underway.

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