Thursday, June 13, 2019
KANSAS CITY BIZ JOURNAL OPPOSES QUESTION 1 WITH DOWNTOWN OLD SCHOOL ECONOMIC REPRISAL THREATS!!!
It might be the most important issue on the June 18 ballot . . . And the Biz Journal offers this rare word of editorial support as the local biz paper of record seems concerned and brings up the past apropos for #TBT.
KC Biz Journal: Editorial: Vote no on Question 1; it will handcuff KC development
Money line . . .
Supporters of Question 1 cite abatements for luxury downtown apartment projects as proof that Kansas City needs stronger limits on tax incentives. The measure would put a hard 50% cap on abatements granted by development agencies in the city.
Of course, the property where Two Light now sits was anything but vibrant or trendy when the city negotiated with The Cordish Cos. to take a chance on a moribund area that just happened to sit in the middle of Downtown. Absent hefty incentives and a sizable risk by the city and Cordish, it’s difficult to imagine what the south end of the Downtown Loop would look like today.
Question 1 is a measure grounded in good intention, but its consequences could stunt growth and improvement throughout all of Kansas City. The measure’s hard caps would apply in blighted areas on the East Side and large undeveloped tracts in the Northland as much as they would to the renewed parts of Downtown. The caps would not take into account the varying degrees of assistance some projects deserve or provide flexibility for extraordinary opportunities like the next Harley Davidson plant, sudden momentum to redevelop along Troost Avenue, Amazon’s HQ2 quest or a hometown company like Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., which might consider moving 1,000 employees to Downtown.
Kansas City officials have made strides in recent years to curb incentives. A 75% abatement cap has scaled back an all-in approach to tax breaks, while preserving flexibility to address extraordinary opportunities. And although Question 1 proponents point to a request by developer Shirley Helzberg to develop a new headquarters for BNIM as an example of what the measure would limit, they fail to point out that the deal did not go through. In other words, the system worked.
You decide . . .