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House Finance Committee gives nod to Panthers bill

Posted March 26, 2013

— A bill that gives Charlotte permission to spend hotel occupancy taxes and prepared food and beverage taxes to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium passed the House Finance Committee Tuesday morning, but not before members from the political right and left pilloried the measure.

City officials say they need to invest in the stadium in order to help keep the Charlotte Panthers NFL franchise in North Carolina.

"This is corporate welfare," said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham. "This is welfare for a major, profitable corporation."

Luebke was joined by conservatives like Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, the House majority leader, and Bert Jones, R-Rockingham.

"It almost seems disingenuous," Starnes said. "You're shortchanging one fund to buck up another."

Backers of the bill answered back, saying lawmakers weren't spending any state money on the project. 

"All we're doing is allowing them to allocate the money as they see fit," said Rep. Bill Brawley, R-Mecklenburg.

Rep. Andy Wells, R-Catawba, said the state had its own problems to deal with.

"I thought we were dealing with a local issue," Wells said. "I'm bowing up a little bit against the idea that cities are incompetent. ... I've got a little more to worry about in my district than what's going on in Charlotte."

The measure was subjected to a roll call vote. The final tally was 21-11.

The committee did not take up a proposal dealing with the city of Asheville's water system, because it ran out of time.

13 Comments

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  • dsalter Mar 26, 1:34 p.m.

    Food, beverage and hotel taxes are applied to help maintain Myrtle Beach. Millions are spent on highway 12 to maintain it for the outer banks...so what's the problem? This team brings in millions in revenue to the state and the stadium was built with private dollars. Every team (except Green Bay) is privately owned by the way. Money was spent for the Bobcats to have a new arena...also for the Hurricanes. It's all for entertainment and without it....there won't be a lot of growth or tourism. And growth and tourism create jobs.

  • gdmurphy Mar 26, 11:36 a.m.

    Charlotte can use PUBLIC money to fund a stadium for a team that is PRIVATELY owned and makes millions of dollars.

    But, Raleigh can't have a park that it has a legal right too.

    Again, Welcome to the Great State of Charlotte - how sad!!

  • rlsmith5 Mar 26, 10:55 a.m.

    Crazy to have tax dollars going to this non-profit organization. Just more showing how Republicans take tax dollars and spend on big corporations and cut back on spending for average citizen. McCory is crooked and it will come out before he leaves office. He is just as bad as Mike Easley was.

  • InTheNo Mar 26, 10:52 a.m.

    But I thought Pat said he wouldn't support it. Let's see if he'll veto anything that passes. Don't count on it.

  • Rebelyell55 Mar 26, 10:50 a.m.

    Not a bit surprised, (would be if Mr. Mc. veto it). We will all see more of this type of abuse of tax dollars for a while yet.

  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 26, 10:43 a.m.

    The GOP LOVES Corp welfare.

    Free market my ...

  • pause to consider Mar 26, 10:39 a.m.

    "We'll all pay for this in the end." - True.

    Since I choose not to afford tickets and trip to Charlotte to see Panthers (I used to....), I now have even more reason to stay away from Charlotte area. I just don't understand why elected officials would put a burden on taxpayers to support a Private HIGH-REVENUE, ENTERTAINMENT Business?

  • farm Mar 26, 10:39 a.m.

    "This is NOT a tourist attraction (never has been - most people can care less about this team).ATC 73,293 average attendance last year. Not too shabby. I agree that state money should no be used but if they want to use money from that area? That should be up to the people from that area.

  • sweetjess1951 Mar 26, 10:39 a.m.

    Why does anyone want to give hard earned tax payer money to a team that hasn't made the playoffs is...how long??? Have they even had a recent winning record???

  • Cock a doodle doo Mar 26, 10:25 a.m.

    Suit pockets are getting filled on Tryon Street and Jones Street.

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