Spring Training Deal Amended Behind Closed Doors
The deal requires the Chiefs to spend $50.6 million to improve their stadium, as well as to give Missouri Western $10 million toward a new training facility. The team’s presence in Missouri — the first five years will be at Western, and the last five can be anywhere in the state — is expected to contribute significantly to the area economy.
The Chiefs and the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB) had each agreed on a deal last year to hold spring training at Missouri Western for 10 years, receiving $25 million in tax cuts from the state. After the vote passed by MDFP, state officials and the Chiefs reworked the deal privately, agreeing for the team to spend only five years in Missouri, with the option of renewing for five one-year periods. Essentially, the tax credits would remain the same as they were in the original agreement, but the Chiefs would only have to uphold half of its end of the deal.
Whether or not tax credits are beneficial (as has been previously discussed on this blog) is beside the point: Secret renegotiations of public contract agreements, particularly ones that halve benefits to the Missouri public, are never a good thing. If Missouri taxpayers are obligated to pay for such special deals, the process should be as transparent as possible.