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City Council, Panthers Demand More Tax Money

Late Friday, Mecklenburg County taxpayers received another shot to their wallet from the Charlotte City Council.

Charlotte City Council has endorsed a proposal that would give the Carolina Panthers nearly $144 million in city money over the next 15 years for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium.

This decision is sure to create a firestorm from taxpayer and Tea Party groups in the Charlotte area.  Over recent years, there have been fierce battles about increasing taxes to fund the Time Warner Arena and the CATS transit system’s light rail project.  However, Panthers owners have threatened to leave the city if local governments didn’t pitch in to upgrade the 17-year-old Bank of America Stadium.

Here are highlights of the agreement between Charlotte City Council and the Carolina Panthers.

1. General Assembly authorizes and City Council levies an additional 1% Charlotte only prepared food and beverage tax effective July 1, 2013. Legislation also includes a 30-year sunset, and exempts expenditure of public funds on the stadium from bid statutes.

2. Panthers make up to $187.5M of capital improvements to the stadium over fifteen years funded $125M City and $62.5M Panthers. City’s contribution funded through 15-year debt financing using new 1% prepared food and beverage tax revenues. Any funds remaining after fifteen years are paid to City.

3. Panthers and City request that the State of North Carolina invest $62.5M into this partnership, or provide an equivalent revenue stream which the State deems appropriate. The City acknowledges that the receipt of these State funds is an essential element of the partnership with the Panthers.

Charlotte City Council’s decision today isn’t the final word on the matter.  The North Carolina General Assembly must approve the new tax hikes that the Panthers are demanding.  This agreement will put added pressure on Charlotte native Gov. Pat McCrory on his pledges to lower taxes and improve government efficiency in Raleigh.

Bruce Carroll

Bruce has his own blog, GayPatriot.org and is active on Twitter as @GayPatriot. Bruce lives near Charlotte, NC and enjoys country music and his three dogs.

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Economy, Politics
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