Monday, May 5, 2008
Festival Licensing Bill
Below is the unedited email from Councilwoman Beth Gottstein regarding KC Festival Licensing. Please contact Senators Koster and Callahan today and tell them to support Democratic Senator Jolie Justus' bill, SB 1001.
You live, work or play in KCMO. You contribute to the Missouri taxbase and have a stake in our quality of life issues. You are a stakeholder. I ask that you exercise your voice.
The clock is ticking. Please help us pass the festival licensing. Please contact the following and urge your family and friends to do the same. Remind them that when the Kansas City local tax base grows, it strengthens Missouri's revenues. Ask them to stop placing the interests of Baltimore big business before Missourians.
Capitol Phone: 573-751-1430/ Capitol Fax: 573-751-9751
Capitol Phone: 573- 751-3074/ Capitol Fax: 573- 751-4551
Other senators contact information:
With housing starts dipping, gas prices climbing and the highest percentage of Missourians without health insurance since the great depression, the proposed festival licensing might not seem like a high priority to the Council and to me. Yet, for these reasons, and others, I am fighting for it in Jefferson City. The Baltimore-based Cordish Company is a crucial player for Kansas City's economic future. However, it is not the lone player. If we cannot protect our local businesses, and merely shift revenues from other parts of the City, to downtown, there is no net gain for KCMO. It is essential that our Power and Light district succeeds, but not at the expense of our local business community's progress.
Our local businesses pay earnings, profits and sales taxes, encourage dollars from regional communities, provide employment opportunities, and supplement our basic services. Festival designation could offer support to Kansas City entertainment districts Local, established entrepreneurs, like those in the West Side, 18th & Vine, Crossroads, Shoal Creek, Martin City and Waldo. With input and oversight from the City Council and our neighborhoods, the designation creates a means for established Kansas City business districts, to reduce administration and direct resources to pressing demands, such as security and service. Yet, state passage is not a simple endeavor. Our efforts have failed in the past.
Predictably, as we get closer to achieving our goal, we are now faced with serious claims and the threat of a lawsuit from the Cordish Company. They incorrectly allege its established festival legislation is exclusive to Kansas City's Power and Light district and was guaranteed by the City of KCMO. Furthering the debate, Cordish has engaged a powerful, experienced lobbyist to fight us in Jefferson City, with traction. While our Baltimore partner has significantly invested in our downtown, so has the City.
The Power and Light district is a unique experience. Nothing can threaten this. I traveled to Baltimore and met w the Cordishes on the matter. I spoke with leaders from St Louis, Louisville, Pittsburg and others areas with Cordish development. Many factors contribute to the promise of the Power and Light district, the least of which is its festival designation. If our other business districts obtain the festival designation, the result will create a environment which raises the overall attractiveness of Kansas City, but does not mirror the Power and Light district's. It will not upset the Power and Light district's competitive advantage or distinctive qualities.
As you may have read, Cordish has contacted the City alleging that:
*the City's supp of the Festival Dist Bill may lead to a lawsuit from Cordish;
*the City remains bound to support an exclusive legislative privilege to Cordish; although this exceptional promise is not outlined or suggested in the entire development agreement or subsequent amendments;
*the current City Council cannot supp a bill which bens the City's numerous small business districts, although both the prior and current Council resolved that the festival designation for all KCMO business districts is one of our priorities; and
*the Festival District Bill is "motivated solely by individual political contributions to individual Council persons." This one is so far-fetched, it does not merit comment.
A sustainable competitive advantage based on Missouri statute is not a right that the City could have offered during negotiations, and it was not. The Festival District legislation provides, separate and apart from the P&L Entertainment District Statute, subject to City approval, limited but important opportunities for the numerous small KCMO business districts. In no way does the proposed legislation impact the state statute upon which Cordish relies.
I encourage you to contact your Senators and especially Senators Koster and Callahan. It must be impressed on them to support local business, the Missouri taxbase and ultimately, their constituents. It is crucial that the senators understand their efforts place Baltimore big business profits ahead of Missourians'. If they do not understand that Cordish has benefited from millions in KCMO and state TIF support, please help send the message. For Cordish to prevent KC's local businesses from receiving the same designation that it enjoys, counters the collaborative spirit on which the Power and Light district plan was generated.
Again, please contact your state legislators, and urge your friends to do the same. Let them know that while Cordish is a valued player in KCMO, Jefferson City should not let them call the shots for all of KCMO's businesses.