Nearly two-thirds of KC voters say ‘no’ to proposal to cap tax incentives at 50%

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City voters gave a resounding “no” to Question 1, a citizen’s initiative to curb tax incentives for developers of projects including hotels and luxury housing.

The ballot question proposed capping tax abatements at 50% instead of the current 75%, a cap that was enacted by a city council vote in 2016.

On Tuesday, with all of precincts reporting, 22,747 voters, or 34.2%, said yes to the proposal — while 42,949, or 65.8%, said no.

Supporters said it would have been a way to cut down on the tax money that flows from projects back to developers. They argued hotel and housing developers are getting off easy on taxes, money that could be spent in neighborhoods and on basic infrastructure.

But developers argued projects like the downtown convention hotel would not be financially feasible without abatements and redirects of tax dollars to help with the financing. They also argued that the projects create jobs, and that in some cases the projects are designed for blighted areas.

Dropping the cap to 50% would make even those deals less likely.

Both mayoral candidates Quinton Lucas and Jolie Justus opposed Question 1.

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