The Buzz

GOP lawmakers hope Missouri keeps investing in Chiefs, Royals stadiums

Chiefs fans cheered as their team took the field before the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 20 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Chiefs fans cheered as their team took the field before the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 20 at Arrowhead Stadium.

A pair of Republican lawmakers hope to convince their colleagues to continue authorizing $3 million in state money to help fund the Truman Sports Complex and Bartle Hall for another decade.

For the past 29 years, Missouri has helped fund the Jackson County Sports Authority, charged with maintaining and operating the Truman Sports Complex — home of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. The state also provides funding for Bartle Hall downtown.

In 2020, that funding is scheduled to expire.

State Rep. Jon Patterson and Sen. Mike Cierpiot, both Republicans from Lee’s Summit, are sponsoring legislation to extend funding for another 10 years.

“The Jackson County Sports Authority and Bartle Hall are significant regional assets that are a source of revenue for our state,” Patterson said. “In 2016, events at Truman Sports Complex generated $28 million in direct state sales tax revenue.”

If the state stops kicking in its $3 million, Patterson said the cost to make up that funding will fall on the county.

“It would also signal to Kansas City that the state is not interested in investing in these regional assets,” Patterson said, later adding: “The tax revenues that these assets generate funnel to the entire state, from Tarkio to Town and Country, going to schools and roads all across the state. This is an investment. That’s how I look at it.”

Patterson said he’s optimistic about his bill’s chances, but acknowledged he still has work to do to get the message out to other lawmakers that spending $3 million of the state’s $30 billion budget is a wise move at a time when state revenue continues to lag behind expectations.

“I think a continued investment from the state is the right thing,” he said, “to do to make sure these regional assets are maintained in world class condition and potentially draw more visitors.”

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Jason Hancock is The Star’s lead political reporter, providing coverage of government and politics on both sides of the state line. A two-time National Headliner Award winner, he’s been repeatedly named one of the “best state political reporters” in America by the Washington Post.