Defending Kansas City's Historic Tax Credit Program
State Sen. Will Kraus recently told The Star, “We are spending too much on tax credits...And we’re not getting the return on investment that we should be demanding,” referring to historic and affordable housing tax credits.
Kevin Collison then penned a rejoinder, citing specific case studies, including a recently approved project called the Argyle--a 10-story building at the prominent corner of 12th and McGee streets in the heart of downtown, originally designed by one of Kansas City's best known architects, Louis Curtiss.
"For more than 15 years the return on investment in this grand edifice a stone’s throw from City Hall has been zero, nada, nothing," writes Collison. But the deal's $3 million tax credit "will leverage a $20 million deal to develop a relic of Kansas City’s past, convert it to 124 nice apartments, and make it a place where a couple hundred people will live as part of Kansas City’s future. People who will go to bars and restaurants, shop for food and bring that stretch of 12th Street alive."
The coup de grâce of Collison's argument: "The Alliance for Investment, Jobs and Preservation estimates that Missouri has issued $1.35 billion in historic tax credits overall since the program began in 1998. The return on that investment? An estimated $7.25 billion in projects and more than 24,700 housing units created."