Will KC Royals get a new stadium? How, when and where to vote on sales tax to fund it

Jackson County is holding a special municipal election on Tuesday, April 2 where residents will weigh in on a proposed 40-year sales tax.

The ⅜ of one percent tax (0.00375%) is intended to help fund the construction of a new baseball stadium and entertainment complex for the Kansas City Royals.

The team recently released its proposal for the complex, which would be in the Crossroads arts district adjacent to the T-Mobile Center. The proposed location is bounded by I-670 to the north, 17th Street to the south, Grand Boulevard to the west and Locust Street to the east.

Here’s what to know about the upcoming special election, which will include the ballot question over the proposed stadium tax as well as a handful of other races for local government and school officials.

When and where can I vote on this ballot measure?

Jackson County voters both within and outside Kansas City can vote in the upcoming special election on April 2. Polling places throughout the county will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. that day.

If you live in the part of Kansas City located within Jackson County, you can find your polling place by entering your last name and date of birth in the “Where do I vote?” tab on the Kansas City Election Board’s website, kceb.org.

If you live elsewhere in Jackson County, you can find your polling place by entering your information on the Jackson County Election Board’s website.

To vote in this election, you must be registered to vote in Jackson County by Wednesday, March 6. No-excuse, in-person absentee voting, also known as early voting, begins two weeks before Election Day on Tuesday, March 19.

You can find out more about absentee and mail-in voting on the Kansas City and Jackson County election board websites.

What do a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ vote mean on the stadium tax question?

The ballot question proposes repealing a current ⅜ cent sales tax, which was approved by voters in 2006 to fund improvements and upkeep for both Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums, and was set to expire in 2031.

But don’t be fooled by the word “repeal” early in the question: It then goes on to propose replacing the old tax with a new tax designed to last for 40 years. This new tax, also at a rate of ⅜ of a cent, would help fund the construction of a new stadium. If approved, it would expire in 2064.

A “yes” vote would approve a new 0.00375% sales tax for 40 years on anyone who makes purchases in Jackson County.

A “no” vote would block the new tax, allowing the 2006 tax to continue until its planned end in 2031.

If the ballot measure fails, what will happen to the Royals stadium plans?

We don’t know yet what would happen to the Royals’ plans if the ballot measure fails.

The team’s plan to move its stadium location to the Crossroads may not be entirely off the table if residents vote ‘no’ on April 2, but the team would need to find other sources of funding if they hope to complete the new development as advertised.

If the ballot measure fails, the 2006 sales tax meant to fund improvements and upkeep to Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums would continue until 2031 as currently planned. The Royals wouldn’t be able to fund the construction of a brand-new stadium using money from this tax.

It’s also unclear what would happen if the ballot measure passes, but Crossroads businesses within the proposed new stadium footprint refuse to sell their land.

What else is on the ballot on April 2?

Depending on where in Jackson County you live, your special election ballot may also include a handful of races for local positions or bond questions specific to your area.

In Kansas City, voters will weigh in on school district director races in the Hickman Mills, Grandview, Center, Lee’s Summit and Independence school districts as well as a bond question for the Grandview Consolidated School District.

Outside of Kansas City, other local Jackson County elections include races for mayors, aldermen, city council members, trustees and municipal judges in cities and towns around the county.

Do you have more questions about the upcoming special election on April 2? Ask the Service Journalism team at kcq@kcstar.com.