Equity: Who Pays and Who Benefits?

 

In Kansas City property tax incentives mainly create assets in desirable parts of the city, for larger businesses and higher income residents. These come at the expense of public services that support all residents, including low-wealth families and communities of color.  For example, tax Incentives in KC impose a far greater cost on children of color without creating proportional benefits in areas like housing, employment, and infrastructure.

Principles of Equitable Development from  Minneapolis St. Paul were created with input from many stakeholders. We modified the principles based on Kansas City’s long-standing pattern of winners and losers in tax-subsidized economic development.

 

  • Equitable community engagement meaningfully involves community members most affected by development projects (especially low-wealth people, people of color, neighborhood groups, community organizations, people living with disabilities, and new immigrants). In KC, under served neighborhoods are stakeholders in all tax-subsidized projects.

  • Equitable community benefits means that public subsidies provided to developers and corporations should result in concrete and measurable community benefits for local residents as defined by their community. Community benefits should be realized within a few years, not 20 or more years.

  • Equitable Land Use practices require that vision, plan, and implementation include local communities’ assets, aspirations, potential, and preferences. They keep current residents in the area and develop projects that promote people’s health, safety, and prosperity.

  • Equitable Economic Development practices require evidence that policies and programs prioritize community based financial intelligence, sustainable wealth creation, and quality job opportunities that prevent unwanted displacement of residents and small businesses from low-income communities and communities of color.

  • Equitable Housing practices give families of all income levels access to housing that costs no more than 30% of their household income. This is important because taxpayers at all income levels assume many costs in Kansas City’s approach to economic development.