Since last week’s Jackson County vote, the future of the Royals and the Chiefs has been the hot topic here in the metro. If you’re anything like me, you have had multiple conversations about how emphatically this proposal was rejected by the voters, and what it means for the city long-term.

There were plenty of reasons for the failure. Lack of transparency from the teams, a terrible marketing campaign, concerns about the logistics of a downtown ballpark, and general distrust of county officials all played a role. But I believe there was one factor above all others that determined the fate of this vote. That factor was the money.

Since the beginning of 2021 Fox Business calculates food prices have risen 33.7%. Energy prices are up 32.8% and shelter costs have increased by 18.7%. With a new Gallop poll saying 63% of Americans are reporting moderate to severe financial hardships from this inflation it should be no wonder voters were hesitant to support any additional tax increases at this time.

Those in support of the plan argued this proposal was not a tax increase, but instead was just a continuation of existing taxes. But let me ask you this, if all of a sudden, an extra year of payments were added to your car loan would you consider it a new expense? I certainly would. I think the people of Jackson County saw this tax 3/8 cent sales tax extension for what was… a tax increase.

Part of the reason I think money was the key factor in the election result was it wasn’t the only place where new taxes were resoundingly defeated. As a Liberty resident myself, we had our own opportunity to approve the building of a large recreational facility last Tuesday. In this case, it was a $60 million upgrade to our community center. Performing even worse than the stadium vote, a staggering 77% of Liberty residents rejected the proposal that would have been paid for through local property tax increases. Kearney too had a similar proposal on the ballot for an increased sales tax to pay for parks that 69% of its voters rejected as well.

In the coming months it will be interesting to see if the Royals attempt to get the same yes vote in Clay County, or if the Chiefs start to cozy up with the state of Kansas. If I were a betting man, I would guess neither will. The fact that voters throughout the area rejected these various tax increases so resoundingly is evidence to me that the people of the metro all have a similar view on how they want to spend their money. Simply crossing a county, or a state line and asking a different group of people for the funds, in my personal opinion, will not work, and the teams know it.

I suspect, in a year or so Jackson County will be given another opportunity to vote on the stadiums, but next time the mechanism for who pays for what, and how much they pay, will be very different. User fees or additional taxes on people from outside the area will likely be at the core of how this new proposal will be financed. Even then, I think getting the majority of voters to say yes will be a challenge. Unfortunately, with the current state of our economy, these types of expenses are luxuries too many of us simply can’t afford at this time.

(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The advice is general in nature and not intended for specific situations)