Question 1: Capping TIF

Editorial Staff
Northeast News


Correction: The Intercontinental Hotel on the Country Club Plaza did not receive TIF but was approved for CID status.

On June 18th, voters will also see Question 1 on the ballot, in addition to casting votes for a new mayor, new council members, and new terms for municipal judges.

Question 1 states:

“Shall the City of Kansas City cap the amount of ad valorem real property taxes that may be utilized in furtherance of economic development projects through the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority of Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City, Missouri Port Authority, the Tax Increment Financing Commission of Kansas City, Missouri and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, by prohibiting the abatement, exemption or redirection of more than fifty percent (50%) of the ad valorem real property taxes that would have been due and payable but for the utilization of economic development incentives?”

If passed, the measure would limit tax incentives the City grants developers through programs like TIF, (tax-increment financing) to 50 percent. TIF is a financing and development tool that encourages the development of blighted, substandard and economically underutilized areas.

Critics, however, say these large incentives take funding away from other entities such as schools and libraries. There have also been questions as to what is considered “blight.”

By definition, urban blight is the “sociological process by which a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude. It may feature deindustrialization, depopulation or deurbanization, economic restructuring, abandoned buildings and infrastructure, high local unemployment, fragmented families, political disenfranchisement, and crime”

In 2016 the downtown Marriott was officially declared “blighted” in order to secure TIF funds for on-site improvements.

A cost-benefit analysis (“but for test”) must be completed for each project and requires approval by the TIF Commission and the Kansas City City Council.  A redevelopment area must be determined by the City or county to be a blighted area, conservation area or economic development area as defined by the Missouri TIF Act and must conform to the general plans of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.

The full Council voted in February to place the question on the June ballot, after the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform collected more than 2,300 signatures in an initiative petition.

According to the City Charter, any new ordinance or any ordinance to amend or repeal, in whole or in part, any existing ordinance, may be submitted to the Council by petition.

The number of required signatures must be at least 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for Mayor in the previous municipal election.

Once the appropriate number of signatures are gathered, the petition is filed with the City Clerk, who will send the petition pages to four election boards to verify each signature as valid.

If the required number of valid signatures are gathered, the ordinance is placed before City Council.

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