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Everything we know about the Kansas bill for a new Chiefs stadium

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Everything we know about the Kansas bill for a new Chiefs stadium


Over the past week, there’s been plenty of news (and sports talk) regarding a bill being advanced by some members of the Kansas Legislature that is intended to lure as many as two professional sports teams — particularly the Kansas City Chiefs — to new facilities that would be built in Kansas.

Originally introduced by state representative Sean Tarwater — who represents the Kansas City suburb of Stillwell — the bill did not come to a vote during the legislature’s most recent session that ended May 1. The legislature could consider it during a special session focused on tax cuts, which is set to begin on June 18.

Tarwater and two other Kansas lawmakers — House Speaker Dan Hawkins from Wichita and Senate President Ty Masterson from Andover — now spearhead a public campaign focused on passing the legislation and getting the Chiefs on board.

On Tuesday, Hawkins and Masterson sent a letter to the team’s chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, inviting the “National Football League’s flagship franchise” to “weigh in on the bill before us” — as Tarwater began a local press tour to explain and promote the legislation.

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Meanwhile, former Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman of Olathe Republican is co-founder of a group of lobbyists who have created an organization called “Scoop and Score Kansas” to do the same.

What’s on the table for the Chiefs

If passed, the Kansas bill would authorize the issue of sales tax and revenue bonds — popularly known as “STAR bonds” — to finance the construction of a new stadium and practice facility. It is expected that $2 billion to $3 billion would be required.

These bonds are essentially unique to Kansas. They are meant to finance attractions that attract a significant part of their revenue from non-Kansas sources — and whose existence is intended to spur nearby development. Like other state and municipal bonds, they are sold (at a discounted price) to private investors. State sales taxes collected at these attractions are used to repay the private investors. After the bonds are repaid, those sales taxes flow into normal coffers.

According to the state of Kansas, STAR bond financing may only be used for “less than 50%” of a project’s total cost “as a general rule.” In a Tuesday interview with 810 Sports’ Soren Petro, representative Tarwater was noncommittal about how much the Chiefs would be required to contribute to what he said would not be a “rinky-dink, temporary solution.”

“The only requirement of the bill is that [the project will be for at least] a billion dollars,” he told Petro. “I don’t know how much [is] going to come out of their pocket — but some of the numbers I’ve seen, around $500 million is their part.”

Tarwater also noted that the Chiefs could buy some of the STAR bonds, allowing the franchise to profit from financing the stadium.

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The location

While it is widely assumed that a Kansas stadium and practice facility would be built in Wyandotte County — near Kansas Speedway and the adjoining Legends shopping and entertainment district — Tarwater says this would be just one option.

“It doesn’t have to be there,” he emphasized to Petro. “This clause is pretty unique. We rewrote STAR bond bill to include more than one area — like the Dallas Cowboys did. They put their practice facility quite a ways away from the stadium and built a whole city around it.”

So it would be possible for these facilities to be built anywhere in Kansas — and they could be widely separated.

Pros and cons

Proponents point to Kansas Speedway (and its surrounding development) as a success story built on STAR bonds, which were paid off well ahead of schedule. Tarwater notes that no new taxes would be collected — and the sales tax revenue used to repay bondholders would come from those who benefit from the facilities rather than all the residents in a state, county or city.

“It’s like a destination tax,” said Tarwater. “If you use the stadium — or go visit the businesses it creates — then you’ll be paying sales tax, but no more than you would anywhere else in the state of Kansas. So there will be no increase.”

The representative admits that it sounds too good to be true.

“That’s the heart of the whole pushback,” he acknowledged. “People just aren’t receiving that message. You could argue that the area might be developed eventually anyway, but certainly not like it will be if the Kansas City Chiefs come to town — or the Kansas City Royals come to town.”

In short, all the risk for these potential projects would be borne by the teams and the investors who purchase the bonds; in the event of a default, state, city and county governments will not be obligated to repay them.

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On the surface, it may seem unlikely that a stadium built for the Chiefs would fail to generate enough revenue to repay the bonds — but it’s also true that STAR bonds can (and do) default. In February, the “Prairiefire” development south of 135th Street between Nall and Lamar in Overland Park — defaulted on its STAR bond debt issued in 2012.

And according to the Kansas City Star, a Chiefs stadium built with these bonds might not lead to a touchdown for the bonds’ buyers.

Academics and other experts on stadium financing and municipal bonds who spoke to The Star cast strong doubt on whether a Royals or, especially, a Chiefs stadium and surrounding development could produce the sales tax revenue necessary to pay off on time a project 100% financed with STAR bonds. The amount of revenue needed would be significant, and sales taxes can be fickle, fluctuating with the larger economy and the popularity of the teams.

In fairness, it should be noted that when the Star article was published in early May, the bill was set to authorize 100% of construction expenses. Tarwater now says the Chiefs would be required to carry around $500 million of these costs, making the STAR bonds account for only 75-85% of the total.

The timetable

Representative Tarwater believes the Chiefs must act quickly.

“So to build a structure of this magnitude, they’ve got to act right now,” he told Petro. “That’s why we’re doing it now; [we’re] not waiting until next year. They’ve got to act now. They’ve got to make a decision. But if they don’t, this bill is good for one year. [If it is passed by the legislature], it will expire July 1, 2025.”

While the bill creates a deadline for the team to accept the state’s plan, the deadline facing the Chiefs might be a little later. Tarwater said it might take up to two years for construction to begin. So-Fi Stadium in Los Angeles took almost four years to build, but Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas were both completed in less than three years. So it could take anywhere from 4-6 years for new facilities to be built in Kansas.

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Since the Chiefs’ current lease at the Truman Sports Complex runs through January 2031 — enough time for seven full seasons of football — the team might not have to decide in the next year. Kansas could also extend its deadline — and the Chiefs and Jackson County could extend their lease, too.

Team interest

At several times during his interview with Petro on Tuesday afternoon, Tarwater implied that team executives are discussing this proposal with Kansas lawmakers. He said the bill’s first draft had been reviewed “with some members of the Chiefs’ family.” He also said the Chiefs “view this as an incredible offer” — and that if the bill is passed, “the chances of them coming to the state of Kansas are extremely high.”

There has also been a social media post from a Kansas City news outlet trumpeting that the Chiefs had “agreed to engage with Kansas lawmakers on special stadium financing” — although the story to which the post linked did not make that statement.

But despite being given opportunities by multiple news outlets this week, the Chiefs have declined to comment on the Kansas bill. It’s reasonable to assume the team is watching the situation carefully — team officials have previously stated they are considering all options — but for now, we cannot gauge the team’s interest.





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Kansas

I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore as Minecraft builder replicates US city at 1:1 scale using software they developed

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I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore as Minecraft builder replicates US city at 1:1 scale using software they developed


We have covered a few exceptional Minecraft builds in recent times here at Readwrite Gaming, the most recent being the stunning recreation of Chernobyl – a Minecraft build that actually made me watch the HBO series again.

Now for something a little less riddled with disaster (no jokes from me) a 1:1 recreation of the City of Kansas, entirely in Minecraft.

I mean, where do you actually start with this one? Minecrafter AtmosphericBeats has gone about things differently from your traditional builder as they have used software they have created over the past four months that pulls in data from OpenStreetMap and the USGS to complete create Kansas in just 36 hours.

Should I be the first to point out that, while technically impressive it has kind of taken the game out of proceedings?

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AtmosphericBeats said in a post on Reddit, “This work is a representation of the city of Kansas City on a 1:1 scale with buildings, roads, trees, and vegetation derived from OpenStreetMap

Biomes are positioned consistently, using high-resolution land cover data

I make those maps with software I’ve been developing in the last 4 months, which uses the data from various sources including OpenStreetMap and USGS to create a Minecraft World with buildings, roads, and natural features based on the data to keep it the most realistic it can be.”

The detail here is insane in that if a tree is on OpenStreetMap it will be pulled into this Minecraft version. The possibility of making many places on Earth that are you never likely to visit could mean we see a lot more from AtmosphericBeats and his mapping software. Minecraft is a great educational tool, and if this can be done reliably.

There is already a Minecraft project called Build the Earth which has taken on the small task of replicating the Earth on 1:1 scale which is something this tiny brain can’t even compute.

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Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts – SRN News

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Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts – SRN News


Supporters of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas have narrowed their plan and are promising tax cuts

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers hoping to lure the Kansas City Chiefs from Missouri are trying to win over skeptical colleagues by narrowing their proposal for encouraging the Super Bowl champions to build a new stadium and by linking it to a plan for broad tax cuts.

The Legislature expected to consider the stadium proposal during a special session set to convene Tuesday. The measure would allow the state to issue bonds to help the Chiefs and Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals finance new stadiums on the Kansas side of their metropolitan area, which is split by the border with Missouri.

Supporters on Monday backed away from an earlier plan to allow state bonds to cover all of the construction costs for new stadiums. Their plan would use revenues from sports betting, the state lottery and new taxes raised from the area around each new stadium.

Top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Legislature also said the stadium proposal is their second priority during the special session, behind cutting income and property taxes. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly called the special session to consider tax cuts, but she cannot limit what lawmakers consider — creating an opening for a plan to woo the Chiefs and Royals.

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“We definitely need to demonstrate that we’re getting relief to our citizens,” said Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican who is backing the plan.

Many lawmakers have argued that voters would be angry if the state helped finance new stadiums without cutting taxes. Kelly vetoed three tax-cutting plans before legislators adjourned their regular annual session May 1, but she and top Republican lawmakers have drafted a compromise measure to reduce taxes by $1.23 billion over the next three years.

The first version of the stadium-financing plan emerged in late April, but lawmakers didn’t vote on it before adjourning. It would have allowed state bonds to finance all stadium construction costs, but the latest version caps the amount at 70%, and it says legislative leaders and the governor must sign off on any bonding plan.

Supporters of the plan also modified it so that it only applies to professional football and Major League Baseball stadiums, instead of any professional sports stadium for at least 30,000 spectators. Bonds would be paid off over 30 years.

“We’re trying to bring something grand to the state of Kansas,” said state Rep. Sean Tarwater, a Kansas City-area Republican leading the push for a stadium plan.

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Free-market conservatives in Kansas have long opposed state and local subsidies for specific businesses or projects. And economists who’ve studied pro sports teams have concluded in dozens of studies over decades that subsidizing their stadiums isn’t worth the cost.

“Most of the money that gets spent on the Chiefs is money that would otherwise be spent on other entertainment projects,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in central Massachusetts who has written multiple books about sports.

Kelly told reporters Monday that she won’t “invest a lot of energy” in a stadium plan, letting lawmakers lead. She and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed an agreement in 2019 to end years of each state using subsidies to steal the other state’s jobs in the Kansas City area, but Kelly argued that their truce doesn’t apply to the Chiefs and Royals.

“We never discussed the teams,” she said.

Kansas legislators consider the Chiefs and Royals in play because in April, voters on the Missouri side of the metro area refused to continue a local sales tax for the upkeep of the complex with their side-by-side stadiums. Missouri officials have said they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the teams but haven’t outlined any proposals.

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The two teams’ lease on their stadium complex runs through January 2031, but Korb Maxwell, an attorney for the Chiefs who lives on the Kansas side, said renovations on the team’s Arrowhead Stadium should be planned seven or eight years in advance.

“There is an urgency to this,” added David Frantz, the Royals’ general counsel.

Supporters of the stadium plan argued that economists’ past research doesn’t apply to the Chiefs and Royals. They said the bonds will be paid off with tax revenues that aren’t being generated now and would never be without the stadiums or the development around them. Masterson said it’s wrong to call the bonds a subsidy.

And Maxwell said: “For a town to be major league, they need major league teams.”

But economists who’ve studied pro sports said similar arguments have been a staple of past debates over paying for new stadiums. Development around a new stadium lessens development elsewhere, where the tax dollars generated would go to fund services or schools, they said.

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“It could still help Kansas and maybe hurt Missouri by the same amount,” Zimbalist said. “It’s a zero-sum game.”



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Carthage man allegedly kills wife in Kansas, drives body back to Missouri in camper

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Carthage man allegedly kills wife in Kansas, drives body back to Missouri in camper


Court documents are shining light on the alleged killing of a 24-year-old woman by her husband.

Gavino McJunkins-Macias, 23, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, 24-year-old Kenia Lopez. Bond has been set at $1 million, according to a press release from the Miami County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Office. McJunkins-Macias has also been charged with abandonment of a corpse by the Carthage Police Department.

As of June 14, McJunkins-Macias was in custody at the Jasper County Jail. On the morning of June 17, he entered a plea of not guilty. On the same day, an extradition hearing was held to return McJunkins-Macias to the authorities of Miami County, Kansas. McJunkins-Macias appeared via video from custody.

A probable cause statement from the Carthage Police Department says the Jasper County Emergency Dispatch Center received a 911 call from McJunkins-Macias about 11:35 a.m. Thursday, June 13. He told authorities the dead body of his wife was inside a camper at 600 N. Main in Carthage. Authorities found Lopez dead from an apparent homicide.

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According to the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, Lopez was killed in the 33500 block of Metcalf Road in rural Louisburg, Kansas. The camper, with Lopez’s body still inside, was then driven to Carthage. McJunkins-Macias was arrested at the scene shortly after making the 911 call.

In an interview with police, McJunkins-Macias confirmed the camper was his. He said he brought the camper to Carthage about 7 a.m. with Lopez inside, knowing she was dead.

After arriving in Carthage on Thursday morning, security footage shows McJunkins-Macias detaching his vehicle from the camper. Documents say he then abandoned his wife’s body for approximately three-and-a-half hours while he met with family and “handled other business.”

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call the Carthage Police Department or the Miami County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Office.

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