Kansas City passes a cap on development incentives

A much-debated proposal to limit economic development incentives in Kansas City was passed by the City Council 9-4 on Thursday over strong objections by Mayor Sly James.

“If we get this wrong, we could once again put up a sign that says Kansas City is closed for business,” James said. “We don’t want development to come to a screeching halt.”

The council didn’t see it that way and gave the ordinance a veto-proof majority.

Approval of the ordinance reflects growing sentiment from the area’s taxing jurisdictions and some members of the public that too many tax dollars are being redirected from education and public services to assist private developers.

The ordinance caps the level of tax abatements or other tax redirections at 75 percent, except for projects in distressed census tracts or those that get “high impact” scores on the AdvanceKC scorecard.

The ordinance applies to development projects that request tax incentives through the Tax Increment Finance Commission of Kansas City, the city’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority, the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, and the Kansas City Chapter 353 Advisory Board.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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