The Kansas City Star couldn’t pat itself on the back enough…
The year was 2003 and editorial page editor Miriam Pepper was ecstatic about the prospects of the newspaper building a new $200 million press facility in the heart of downtown.
“I’m ready to cheer, sling dirt, or dig with my hands,” Pepper panted.
“By building in a brownfield, an older urban neighborhood just south of the downtown loop, the paper is walking its talk,” she continued. “It’s not the easiest or least expensive way to go, even with a $12.8 million tax break. Many newspapers today head to suburban greenfields because they are cheaper to buy and build on.”
Indeed the Star could have asked for far greater tax breaks, but chose not to.
Something about wanting to set an example for other developers by not being greedy and doing the right thing for Kansas City.
That was then.
The latest: After threatening to move its press facility out of KC if it was not granted an extension of it’s tax breaks from 10 to 25 years, the Kansas City Council blinked and granted the newspaper another 15 years, depriving the city of millions of dollars in funding for schools, libraries and other uses.
That despite an advisory board recommendation that the council reject the Star’s request.
Board member Michael Duffy said the tax break was “not intended to be a bailout provision for a troubled business, which is what we heard today.”
Star publisher Mi-Ai Parish followed that admonition with a not-so-veiled threat to move the press out of KCMO if the newspaper didn’t get its tax break.
“We would like to stay,” Parish whined. “(But) the economics have to be there.”
Seriously? Continue reading