Those in favor of Bi-State II ask Kansas City Metro residents TO "THINK BIG"
We should all think carefully and that means that we need ALL of the information asked for below. With that information we can come to an honest conclusion of what we are being asked to pay for. THINK CAREFULLY.
Proponents should be honest with voters and make public the following information about sports funds:
Proponents should be honest with voters and make public the following information about arts funds:
The taxpaying public must educate themselves about the Bi-State II entertainment tax, and do so with facts, not just catchy slogans and feel good phrases. They must determine who pays and who plays. Then, decide if the tax is a tax they can support. If they can't support it, they should work against it.
Provided by email to the Neighborhood Action Group by Taxpayers against Bi-State II Terrence Nash, Treasurer
The current leases were signed in 1991 and a master plan was agreed to but with no price tag or cap on the costs to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority. In 1994 projected costs of the master plan improvements were $56 million. As of Dec.31, 2002 $61 million has been spent. While 44 per cent of the master plan has not been completed. Also there is an estimated shortfall of revenue between $35 million to $47 million. This information is from an audit by State Auditor of Missouri; Claire McCaskill released on July 25,2003.
1. What are the master plan projects not yet completed and there estimated cost?
2. In the audit on page 19 what are the $257,958 in 2001 and $207,276 in 2002; lease negotiations expenses for?
3. In 2002 the Royals received $2,794,173 in management fees and utility cost reimbursement. While only paying $450,000 in rent and $666,331 in percentage rent, for a total of $1,096,331. So it seems that the taxpayers are paying the Royals to be tenants besides the yearly payments from the city,county and state?
1. What is the rush to agree on new leases when 10 years remain on the current ones?
2. What are the $225 million of projects for the Chiefs and Royals that have been agreed to?
3. Why is the Sports Authority giving away the naming rights to the stadiums?
4. What is the total cost including financing costs, financing reserves, interest costs legal costs and all other costs associated with the memorandum agreements?
5. What is the total financial impact when the new provisions are implemented? The Jackson County Sports Complex Authority needs to provide a 25-year Comparative Statement of Receipts, Disbursements and Changes in Funds Assets using the format of the state audit.
6. Why should the city, county and state continue to pay $7.5 million yearly to the Sports Authority after providing a huge subsidy of bi-state?
7. Why should the members of the Sports Authority be appointed and not elected?
8. Why should the members of the Sports Authority only be from Jackson County?
Additional Questions from Bi-State.info
1.) Are you a non-profit, tax exempt organization? (If not, what are you?)
2.) You know how much money you want >from Bi-State so you must have a detailed project list with cost estimates. Exactly what is the money to be spent for, how many luxury suites are planned, and can we get a copy of that list?
3.) Why did you agree to Katheryn Shields giving away hundreds of millions of dollars in stadium naming rights. (If you didn't agree, why didn't you object?)
4.) If you claim the teams as "regional", why are there no Johnson County members on
on the JCSCA board and why doesn't Johnson County get any of the rental or tax income?
5.) The 2002 state audit disclosed a shortfall of $47 million in stadium maintenance and improvements. By now, it must be close to $60 million. If Bi-State fails, how do you plan to make up that shortfall?
6.) Aside from the yearly $2.2 million rental and approximately $11 million tax, do local taxpayers get any other revenue from the stadiums or teams?
Letter to the Editor
It's getting close to the November 2nd time to vote No on the Bi-state, so round up your friends, neighbors, and family over 18 years old and make sure they all vote against this fleecing of the taxpayers.
Actually, you may wonder what happened to the Bi-state Tax, because it has quietly morphed into the Think Pig, I mean Big, Proposition 1 campaign and is currently being pitched into a multi-million dollar warm and fuzzy television blitz emphasizing kids' face-painting and cheering sports fans. A closer look at this turkey clearly demonstrates why the campaign is so, shall we say, non-specific.
When Bi-state was first conceived by Kansas City consensus, it envisioned funding projects of regional importance with a tax of both limited scope and duration. Its use to restore Union Station is an appropriate example.
The compact was then unfortunately hijacked and totally adulterated by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the sports/entertainment industry. And where were our elected officials looking out for the taxpayers? Supine, mute, and even complicit. In fact, recently some have allowed themselves to be flown around the country on chamber-sponsored trips, inexplicable visiting cities tottering on insolvency due to poor management and planning. If you asked, these people would tell you they've gone to get some new ideas and to share their views, but it's embarrassingly obvious they've simply been co-opted, schmoozed, jerked around, and used. By any standards, it is shameful!
The current Bi-state is an excessive, arrogant, unnecessary special interest proposal merely masquerading as public policy. It was put together by people who are used to getting what they want in their private lives, and what they want in this case is your money, all $1.3 billion of it!
This proposal does not include the most basic elements of good public policy, accountability, equity or governance.
Consider: Accountability for pubic money enables taxpayers to know what they ll get if they vote yes, and a mechanism for ensuring those promises area kept. The arts portion is basically a $360 million slush fund from which grants can be requested. Interestingly, in a recent Business Journal article, a Metropolitan Arts Council spokesman estimated up to $60 million would be spent on administrative costs, more than the $50 million allocated to the Performing Arts Center. And, overall, what will we get for our money? Who really knows, but a recent suggestion may provide some clue a museum of national stature to chronicle life in suburbia in Johnson county. You ve got to be kidding!
Consider: All financial decisions for the Sports Stadiums will continue to be made by the Jackson County Sports Authority whose members are appointed by the Governor of Missouri. The Bi-state Commission merely writes checks. If you're not a Missouri Voter, "Think Big " gives you big taxation with no representation.
Consider: As this is written Jackson County residents are all guaranteed in the stadium leases that they will get first shot at tickets as they always have. So much for regional equity!
Spending taxpayer money carries special responsibility of accountability, transparency, governance, and equity; ideas utterly foreign to and completely ignored by the private swells,that put Bi-state II together, mostly behind closed doors and with as little input from elected officials and the public as possible.
We simple cannot afford to make a $1.3 billion, 15-20 year mistake. Vote NO on Bi-state II and then we can roll up our sleeves, have a serious public debate and thoughtfully invest together in a Greater Kansas City region.
Very truly yours,
William L. Kostar
Mayor, City of Westwood
Answers which appear here are the conclusions of the Kansas City Neighborhood Action Group.
Given the failure of the previous Bi-State Tax Election, is it time to pull the plug on the concept of a regional tax in Kansas City?
A Regional Tax will not be accepted by those outside Jackson County until Kansas City Missouri cleans up its spending practices.
It is ludricious to think that voters will forget such use of tax funds or be stupid enough to sanction new taxes for such slight of hand waste of tax payer monies.
What lessons did we learn from this past Bi-State tax election?
NOWHERE IN THE NATION HAS $ 3,000,000.00 in campaign funds failed to push through a vote for a stadium or arena, except in Kansas City. "THINK BIG" lost for 3 reasons, Arrogance, Greed, and Dishonesty. Our opposition made a lot of hay out of erronous statements that a proponent made at The Coalition of Hispanic Organizations meeting. Look at the Hispanic wards in Kansas City and see how they voted. The loose way in which funds were moved around between the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Bi-State Committeee on Arts andSports and given to Kansas legislators during an election is a story that is still told in barbershops and American Legion halls in Kansas. Such slick political manuevering polarizes the electorate.
Did the last election tell us there is no support for funding arts and sports programs? Or did voters simply have a "beef" with the way it was packaged?
Persons from the Opposition side found out that minorities and recent immigrants were not included in the arts planning and that when questions were asked about egalitarian dispersal of funds, No answers were forth coming. After the election the Kansas City Star reported that indeed operation costs for the Preforming Arts Center were to be supplied by the Arts section of the Bi-State II proposal.After the election we found out that Sports stadiums could be repaired for a mere $30 Million, not the $720 Million proposed by Bi-State II.
We also noticed that a New York bonding company gave money to Freedon Inc. Why? It doesn't matter, the public didn't like it. They understand that half of the Bi-State II costs ($340 Million) was because of the purchase and repayment of bonds.
What would need to be in a future tax to attract voters on both sides of state line to support it?
I do not know of anything that will attract voters at present. One might say that the voters are just a bit gun shy. You know people can get on the internet and find out that in Denver the new stadium is having to be financed by counties that have populatons with in (90 miles) of Kansas. They can see through such crazieness when given a chance and as the opposition to Bi-State II we provided such a chance by simply shining a little light in dark cornors and the public responded with a resounding NO.
To the opponents: Is there any basket of items that could be placed on a Bi-State ballot that you would support?
This system allows for the inclusion of academic art endeavors and popular arts at the neighborhood community center. Each has a place in Kansas City and each should be provided a chance at any Arts funding that takes place with taxpayer money.