Kansas City Council Should Say November Oscar to Hotel Bravo
The developers of a luxury hotel proposed for downtown Kansas City are back seeking major tax subsidies for their proposal. In a great but all-too-rare decision in 2019, the Kansas City TIF Commission recommended against using TIF for this exact project. Apparently, in modern America, you can’t build high-end luxury goods without taxpayer subsidies (as twisted as that is).
But the developers of the Hotel Bravo plan are back requesting subsidies from the council. They have not amended the plan, and because of the TIF commission’s 2019 rejection, the developers will need a supermajority of the Kansas City City Council to approve (9 votes out of 13) for it to pass. One would hope that there are five members of the council, including the mayor, who are opposed to a $47 million tax subsidy for another hotel in downtown Kansas City. Even the region’s tourism agency, Visit KC, has opposed new tax subsidies for more hotels because its own analysis concluded there were too many already.
This should not be complicated. $47 million in tax subsidies for a high-end hotel in a saturated market (according to Visit KC) is insane. Vast evidence on the subject indicates that subsidy-based economic development doesn’t work. Local economic development officials can’t predict the future and are influenced by politics in their choices.
The TIF commission made the right decisions when it rejected the proposal in 2019. The city council should once again decisively say November Oscar to Hotel Bravo.