Raleigh, N.C. — Charlotte-area officials would be able to use three existing taxes to help pay for renovations to Bank of America Stadium under a bill filed by Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, and three other local lawmakers Thursday.
The measure does not raise an existing tax or create any new taxes. Rather, it allows the city to reallocate existing hospitality-related taxes.
Samuelson said it would not give the city and the Carolina Panthers all of the money needed to carry out their planned upgrades immediately. Instead, she said, the city and the team would have to pick and choose what to do first and what can be put off.
"There's nothing wrong with prioritizing," she said.
Panthers owners Jerry Richardson came to the legislature two weeks ago to help pitch public funding for the stadium. He would never move the team, Richardson said, but upgrading the stadium could help tie to the Panthers to Charlotte for another 15 years.
Samuelson's bill falls far short of the extra revenue and grants for which the team and city have been asking. But, she said, it gives local officials enough flexibility to carry out the renovations over time.
"We do not have the cash to be adding them to the budget this year," Samuelson said, citing comments by House Speaker Thom Tills, who said the state budget should not spend money on stadium renovations.
"We're going to leave that up to the governor and his Commerce Department," Samuelson said.
If Gov. Pat McCrory, another Republican from Charlotte, wants to use existing economic development funds to help with the upgrades, the legislature might help him do that. But, she said, nobody should expect to see a bill raising local taxes to pay for the stadium come from the House.