Jackson County moves forward with bistate tax; deadline looms

According to a KCStar article,
The Jackson County Legislature agreed Tuesday to ask voters for a bistate tax to raise $354 million to help renovate the Truman Sports Complex.

In turn, the Chiefs and Royals have agreed to extend their leases with the county through 2029. Those leases currently run through 2015.

If the bistate tax is also approved by voters in Johnson County, the teams' agreements become effective if "a new 1/4-cent sales tax to be collected by the Bistate Commission is passed...with one-half of such tax dedicated to the sports complex for a period of not less than 25 years."
Meanwhile, PitchWeekly reports that a heretofore little-known section of the contract dealing with the stadiums states that if certain very expensive stadium improvements are not completed by 2007 then the Royals and Chiefs are no longer obligated to stay in Kansas City.

The needed improvements cannot be met with current stadium revenues. A new bi-state tax would be needed.

Some area leaders have been pushing for an expanded regional funding mechanism:
The chamber's approach would expand the way local leaders pursue regional funding, replacing another bistate tax, and this would require new legislation in both Missouri and Kansas.
The problem with this is that it will take time to get the new, better funding mechanism in place and the 2007 deadline in the stadium contract puts pressure on politicians to do something quickly.

This all is relevant to are bicycle advocates, because a region-wide tax has been proposed to help pay for the Kansas City region's MetroGreen plan, which would benefit greatly from increased funding and region-wide intregrated planning.

If done right, addition of Metrogreen to the bi-state tax proposal could help increase the popularity of the bi-state tax proposal. Trails are overwhelmingly favored by area residents, even when taxes must be increased to pay for them. The stadiums, by contrast, seem to have less support, especially on the Kansas side.

On the other hand, if a large new tax is passed to support the stadiums and regional arts organizations (which by law are a required part of a bi-state tax proposal) and trails funding is not part of proposal, area residents may be reluctant to support a separate regional tax to support MetroGreen.

Complicating the equation is the fact that a number of counties in the region--Johnson County, KS, Platte County, MO, and Clay County, MO--already have county-wide taxes in place to fund trails.