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Old 04-28-2005, 02:11 AM  
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KC Star: Bill to help Sports Complex moves ahead

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...s/11506828.htm

Bill to help KC stadiums moves ahead

But opposition to plan remains strong

By TIM HOOVER The Kansas City Star


JEFFERSON CITY — A plan to shift state tax dollars to help pay for renovations at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums won approval in a House committee Wednesday, despite misgivings of some lawmakers.

The 5-2 vote by the House Rules Committee means that the proposal, which has passed the Senate, can advance to the full House, where there is significant opposition — even among Kansas City area lawmakers.

“I think lawmakers from Kansas City, we need more help from that group,” said Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, a St. Joseph Republican who is sponsoring the measure.

Under Shields' proposal, the state would take revenue from taxes it collects on out-of-state athletes and entertainers who perform in Missouri and use part of the money for stadiums in Kansas City and St. Louis and for arts programs around the state.

The proposal would also provide a big boost to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the 18th and Vine District.

The bill would provide $12 million annually for the upkeep of Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, an increase of $9 million over what the state now provides.

The measure advanced Wednesday only after discussion about how it could be broadened to include arts funding for other communities.

The committee chairman, Rep. Shannon Cooper, a Clinton Republican, complained that the proposal offered no arts funding for communities in his district.

Shields said the bill was a work in progress and could be changed. He asked the committee to pass the bill without setting a time limit for debate on the House floor.

“If you put a time limit on it, you're going to put a death sentence on the bill,” Shields said.

The committee, which includes three Kansas City area lawmakers, passed the bill with no time limit. Rep. Leonard Hughes, a Kansas City Democrat, voted for the bill, and Rep. Bryan Pratt, a Blue Springs Republican, voted against it.

Rep. John Burnett, a Kansas City Democrat, voted “present.”

The Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, the body that oversees the stadiums, considers the bill so important that it took the step Wednesday of hiring lobbyist Jewell Patek to push the bill for the rest of the legislative session, which ends in mid-May.

Patek, a former legislator, is to be paid $7,500, plus a $5,000 bonus if the bill is approved by the Senate and House.

The sports authority typically does not have a political lobbyist. Patek is a Jefferson City veteran whose clients include Kansas City Southern and North Kansas City Hospital's medical staff, according to Missouri's registered-lobbyist report.

Michael Smith, a Lee's Summit insurance agent who is chairman of the sports authority, said the authority would not have taken that step if the bill's prospects weren't good. But given the legislature's recent reluctance to fund stadiums, Smith said, “It's a tough bill; it's a tough time.”

Jackson County, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce also have lobbyists on the bill.

The athlete and entertainer tax, which generates more than $24 million a year, was originally intended for arts and humanities programs, libraries and public broadcasting.

However, the cash-strapped state instead has put the money into its general revenue fund, which finances a variety of programs, including schools, prisons and Medicaid.

The proposal would shift collections from the athlete and entertainer tax out of general revenue over three years and redirect 100 percent of it to the stadiums and arts programs by 2009.

Supporters estimate that the total from the tax could grow to $34 million by 2009, of which 51 percent would go to Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums and to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, where the St. Louis Rams play, and to other sports and cultural facilities.

The Kansas City stadiums would get an amount based on the revenue its athletes generate. Supporters said that would give the two stadiums together about $9 million a year in additional funding by 2009. The Edward Jones Dome and other facilities also would get a share, determined by how much of the tax revenue they generate.

The state now provides $12 million a year for the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, and it has provided millions of dollars in tax credits and economic development incentives to help the St. Louis Cardinals build a new ballpark. The state also pays $3 million annually to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority for the Kansas City stadiums.

Kansas City area lawmakers have complained for years that their town has gotten the short-end of the stick.

The 49 percent of the money that would not go to stadiums in Kansas City or St. Louis would be divided among arts and humanities organizations, museums and other interests, including sports facilities, in smaller communities such as Joplin, Springfield, Branson and St. Charles.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, for example, would get an estimated $1.6 million by 2009, and the Bruce Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and Museum would be eligible for funding, along with more than a dozen other organizations.

Arts organizations are cautiously supportive of the proposal, recognizing that they would at least get some of the athlete and entertainer tax revenue.

Proponents argue that the measure would ensure that professional athletes would pay for the upkeep of the stadiums that enrich them and their ballclubs.

The bill would also guarantee that Missouri, and especially Kansas City, would not lose any major-league sports teams, supporters say.

Gov. Matt Blunt has been receptive to the bill, saying Tuesday, “The idea that the stadiums pay for themselves is appealing.”

He said, however, that he had not made a decision on the bill.

But many lawmakers think it is wrong for the state to use tax dollars for sports stadiums, especially in a year when legislators have voted to eliminate Medicaid coverage for 100,000 people and cut many other programs and services.

“In a tough budget year where almost every state department and program was reduced, it's a bad year to vote for public funding for stadiums,” Pratt said.

But Rep. Ed Robb, a Columbia Democrat and an economist, said the timing was not the problem with the proposal.

“It would never be a good thing under any circumstances,” Robb said. “It's pure regional pork.

“If these communities want these things, they should fund them themselves.”

The bill is SB 269. For the full text, go to .mo.us/, click on Joint Bill Tracking and type in the bill number.


The Star's Jeffrey Spivak contributed to this report.
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:21 AM   #2
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KC has gotten the short end of the stick for quite some time now. We as Missourians, pay taxes on Busch stadium and the Rams Dome because they are owned by the city which follows under state taxes. St Louis people do NOT have to pay taxes on either Arrowhead or Kauffman because they are strictly owned by Jackson County. So if you live in Jackson County, alone you have to pay extra taxes on the Truman Sports Complex.
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BSPimpDude
KC has gotten the short end of the stick for quite some time now. We as Missourians, pay taxes on Busch stadium and the Rams Dome because they are owned by the city which follows under state taxes. St Louis people do NOT have to pay taxes on either Arrowhead or Kauffman because they are strictly owned by Jackson County. So if you live in Jackson County, alone you have to pay extra taxes on the Truman Sports Complex.
Just one more reason to burn St. Louis to the ground.
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:10 AM   #4
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Just one more reason to burn St. Louis to the ground.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:51 AM   #5
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Its only fair that with St. Louis getting a new stadium to replace Busch, a stadium that was renovated in 1992 and 1995, the can do some renovations of the stadiums in KC. Those stadiums are only 5 years younger than Busch and have not gone thru any major renovations that I am aware of.
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