Mayor Sly James Slams GOP Tax Proposals As 'Crippling' To Redevelopment

Nov 16, 2017

Mayor James came out swinging today against Republican tax reform proposals being considered in Washington, saying they would “cripple” vital city redevelopment and infrastructure efforts including the planned new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

“We need an agenda to revitalize and restore the infrastructure of our cities, not cripple future investment in our urban centers,” James said in a press release.

The mayor singled out proposals to eliminate Private Activity Bonds in the House GOP bill, and eliminating the Advanced Refunding Bonds in both the House and Senate proposals, noting elimination of the Private Activity Bonds (PAB) could be devastating to financing a new, $1 billion terminal at KCI.

“PABs are essential to a number of city infrastructure projects and expected to be a significant tool in financing the new KCI airport approved by voters earlier this month,” the mayor said. “Elimination of PABs could throw the project’s future into question."

The mayor also said Advanced Refunding Bonds have been used in a number of critical city projects including several major downtown initiatives: Liberty Memorial, the Music Hall, the Sprint Center and East Village. He said the program has helped the city save $52 million.

“Advanced Refunding would make vital City projects more expensive and prevent some projects from moving forward,” James said in his statement.

The mayor also criticized proposals to eliminate the federal New Market and Historic Tax Credit programs.

The federal historic tax credit program has been a huge financing tool that has allowed the redevelopment of scores of downtown buildings including the Power & Light Building, President Hotel and the Pickwick Plaza.

A similar state historic tax program is in jeopardy in Missouri.

“Provisions to eliminate the New Market and Historic tax credits will diminish the City’s ability to spur investment in low-income communities,” the mayor said in his release.

Kevin Collison, a freelance contributor to KCUR 89.3, writes about downtown Kansas City for his website CityScene KC.