KC developers could see a reduction in their tax breaks soon as City Council eyes new priorities


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Today’s City Council vote could put more financial support toward schools and libraries after reducing tax breaks for luxury development projects. // Image courtesy of KCMO.gov

Since 2016, Kansas City developers have received substantial tax reductions on projects. That could change today.

The Kansas City Council is set to vote today on a new policy reducing tax incentives for developers and shortening the time frame of abatement for their projects. The ordinance was endorsed Wednesday by the Council’s Neighborhood, Planning and Development Committee.

Instead of a tax break of 75% for 10 years following the project and another 37.5% for 15 years after that, this reform proposal would cut tax incentives down to 70% for 10 years and 30% for the following five years instead of 15.

Projects in distressed areas or ones that provide affordable housing, historic preservation, significant job growth, industrial and manufacturing services, or distribution services would be exempt from these rules.

Under this new policy, more financial support could go toward areas in need, such as libraries and urban schools. This has been a long-standing desire among city councilpeople and members of the city’s business community.

In a letter to the City Council, Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell expresses a long-existing need for this redirection.

“How many more luxury buildings in affluent neighborhoods will generations of students be forced to subsidize?” he asks.

If approved, the policy would take a notable step in giving money back to residents services that property tax breaks have taken it away from. Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, co-sponsor of the ordinance, says it’s time for that.

“There is a deepening feeling that the city is prioritizing the needs of wealthy corporations over the needs of residents,” she says.

Categories: Politics