Hot New Argument for Tax Breaks in Kansas City: Abate My Taxes, Or I Just Might Build a QuikTrip
Taxpayer-subsidized apartments or $1 buffalo chicken hot dogs? How will I ever decide? (Emphasis mine.)
Read what David Martin wrote in The Pitch:
The project, which has neighborhood support, sounds worthwhile. But there’s a catch. The public has to provide assistance. The developer is asking for a tax break worth $2.76 million.
The Kansas City City Council will be told that the project won’t work without the incentives. Yes, West 39th Street is vibrant with restaurants. Across the state line, the University of Kansas Hospital is expanding.
The developer concedes that the failed Qdoba sits on a valuable piece of land. But here’s where the proposal begins to look like blackmail.
“Sure, it’s an attractive piece of property for development for lots of different uses,” Aaron March, an attorney working for Price Development, tells The Pitch. “But if we were just in it for the money, we would sell it to McDonald’s or QuikTrip. But we’re not.”[…]
So what will you have, Kansas City, a spiffy new apartment building or a McFlurry? “If you’d rather have a convenience store or a gas station or a fast-food restaurant,” March says, “then don’t give the incentives.”
This is the view from the property’s doorstep.
It takes real je ne sais pas quoi to go to the government, concede that your property’s valuable, and then claim that if you don’t get a tax abatement, your only option would be to build a gas station or a fast food joint. That may be business as usual these days when it comes to the private sector’s interactions with the government, but it’s bad business, and bad policy.