July 17, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

“Scoop and Score” makes false claim, won’t substantiate rosy economic impact of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas

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Much like quarterbacks use the “silent count” in noisy situations near vocal opponents, the organizers of “Scoop and Score” working to bring the Chiefs to Kansas have been mum when asked to explain their optimistic economic forecasts for the move across state lines.

Kansas residents have received recent emails with this sales pitch.  They start with a false headline of “Keep the Chiefs in Kansas City.”  The Scoop and Score campaign wants people to sign a petition to support their effort to move the Chiefs to Kansas while making them think the team would stay in Kansas City.  It would be the same team, but definitely NOT the same city.

Scoop and Score campaign makes false and misleading claims

Among its other misleading claims:

The Professional Sports Franchise STAR Bond Legislation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would also bring nearly one billion dollars in economic activity and nearly 6,000 jobs to Kansas each year…..

We reached out to former Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman, the leader of Scoop and Score, on two separate occasions, asking them to ‘show their math’ the economic activity, why they believe the move would create 6,000 jobs each year,  and which developers and landowners are involved in the organization. He did not respond.

Research refutes Scoop and Score claims

Photo of Ron Ryckman courtesy of Kansas Legislature

Research by Analyst Ganon Evans of the Kansas Policy Institute, owners of The Sentinel, says STAR Bonds investments have a checkered past in Kansas, and the enormity of the request from Scoop and Score should give additional pause:

 

  1. Stadium subsidies have a poor track record. The left-leaning Brookings Institution found no examples of a new, subsidized sports facility increasing higher local tax revenues or having a significant, positive effect on local employment.  A separate study from the Journal of Urban Affairs found no effect of subsidized basketball stadiums on regional personal income.  Between 1995 and 2015, 29 of the NFL’s 31 stadiums received a total of $7 billion in public subsidies, only to have practically nonexistent income or job growth in the long run.

 

  1. Research shows that STAR bond projects merely shift economic activity. An analysis of STAR Bonds in Wichita conducted by Dr. Arthur Hall on behalf of Kansas Policy Institute concluded the subsidies “had no measurable effect on the persistent decline of business and job growth in downtown Wichita.”  Gains in one part of the city were offset by losses elsewhere.  It is rare to nonexistent for such projections to account for the unseen consequences of economic activity that would otherwise occur absent the project, and some return-on-investment assumptions are so overblown that they are absurd.

 

  1. There is a very significant cost to Kansas businesses in unseen economic consequences. People have a fixed amount of money to spend, so everything spent at retail and dining facilities in the stadium area would be spent elsewhere without the stadium.  Accordingly, the stadium project negatively impacts businesses outside the stadium area.

 

  1. The stadium project will shift large amounts of sales tax revenue to pay off debt. With only a few home games in football, most of the sales tax revenue to pay off STAR bond debt will come from year-round retail and dining in other establishments.  A large portion of that sales tax revenue would occur elsewhere without a stadium district and flow to the state general fund.  And with General Fund spending skyrocketing now (56% since Governor Kelly took office), the stadium deal could prevent future tax relief or lead to a tax increase.

 

  1. Business subsidies have not and will not resolve a five-decade period of economic stagnation. Kansas is in its fifth straight decade of economic stagnation, falling farther behind national average increases in job growth, population, and economic activity (GDP).  High taxes and subsidies for a few businesses have proven ineffective at breaking economic stagnation, and continuing down the same path will dig the hole deeper.

Evans adds homeowners in Wyandotte County have been hit with big property tax hikes despite the alleged benefits of a similar project at the Kansas Speedway and the Legends Outlets:

“The new development of the stadium, stores, and other complexes is going to cause the appraised value of the nearby land to increase as well, leading to higher taxes on the people that live there.  Wyandotte County, whose STAR bond-funded Kansas Speedway has been touted as a project similar to financing a Chiefs stadium, has imposed a 301% increase in tax revenue since 1997, more than the triple the rate of inflation and population growth combined.

The Special Session of the Kansas Legislature, which will consider the package for the Chiefs, along with tax relief for Sunflower State residents, convenes June 18th.

The Sentinel will update this story if Scoop and Score responds to our request for documentation of its economic claims.

 

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