"Corporate welfare," cries The KC Star! $47 million in Kansas tax dollars lures AMC from KCMO

Irony:  One year ago, The Kansas City Star editorial board said this about an effort to end the one percent earnings tax for everybody working in Kansas City, MO (regardless of state of residence):  “E-tax campaign threatens KC’s future.”  Now, The Star reports, “AMC is the third major Kansas City business to move to Kansas in less than two years.”

Irony:  On August 18, Kansas City, MO, made it illegal for minor teenagers to be out and about by themselves at night.  A reactionary policy that occurred directly after a shooting, a policy that many consider to be racist (63.3% of the KCMO public school students are black), a policy that doesn’t exist in the predominantly-white suburbs, and a policy that assumes 17-year-old violent, gun-wielding teens immediately become stand-up citizens at age 18.  A month later, AMC Entertainment announces that it is moving its headquarters 100,320 feet, from Missouri into Kansas.  According to the Motion Picture Association of America, 27% of frequent movie-goers are aged 2-17 (PDF), even though that age range is only 22% of the population.

According to Bing Maps, AMC Entertainment is moving 19.0 miles (21 minutes of driving), from Missouri and into Kansas.

I’m not condoning this use of tax dollars, and I don’t disagree with The Kansas City Star that it’s “corporate welfare.”  But at the same time, I don’t feel at all sorry for Kansas City, MO, when they would use the same type of tax incentives if they could.  Indeed, as The Star reports (emphasis added):

AMC is the third major Kansas City business to move to Kansas in less than two years, the others being JPMorgan Retirement Plan services, which moved 800 jobs to Overland Park, and KeyBank Real Estate Capital, which took 300 jobs to Overland Park.

In May, Kansas City retaliated and attracted Applebee’s International and its 390 jobs from Lenexa [Kansas] with the aid of a $12.6 million state and city incentive package.

These are the kinds of economic consequences, when KCMO has a 1% earnings tax (a tax on your wages, even if you live in Kansas, not counting investment income); when KCMO has pricey and miserable “public” schools; when the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and The Star oppose school choice (effectively, capitalism for education); and when the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and The Star both support the 1% earnings tax.


KMBC-ABC Channel 9:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — AMC Entertainment has announced plans to move its headquarters and about 450 of its employees to Leawood, Kan.  AMC said it will relocate to Leawood’s Park Place near 119th Street and Nall Avenue in 2013. Its corporate office is located in downtown Kansas City.

The McClatchy-owned Kansas City Star:

The AMC deal was sweetened by a reported $47 million incentive package from Kansas and will cost downtown 400 jobs when the firm leaves 10 Main for Leawood. The company said its current downtown location was inadequate.

Fox 4’s take is here.

The usually left-wing editorial board for The Kansas City Star — these are the same editors who support KCMO’s 1% earnings tax (applied to all workers, regardless of state residence), and the same editors who support the oppressive inner-city schools that are costly both financially and culturally — only NOW do The Star’s editors take a rare look at whether tax dollars are being efficiently spent, in “AMC tax-break deal is more fiscal folly”:

Even in the often bizarro world of corporate welfare, the new deal involving AMC Entertainment stands out as a financially irresponsible use of taxpayer funds.
The private business will get a reported $47 million in public incentives to leave its corporate headquarters in downtown Kansas City and move to Leawood, one of the area’s wealthiest suburbs, where the median family income is nearly $150,000 a year.
Kansas taxpayers will help AMC move its 400 employees a few miles to a brand new building, leaving behind empty office space in the heart of Kansas City.

Here is a report by KSHB-NBC Channel 41.


Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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