Panthers tax bill cruises through House

Posted March 27, 2013

— A proposal to allow the city of Charlotte to redirect local tax revenues to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium cruised through the House Wednesday with little debate.

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and city officials had initially asked the state to contribute $62.5 million – one-quarter of the estimated $250 million bill to improve the 17-year-old stadium. House and Senate leaders balked at the request.

City leaders subsequently asked legislators for a 1 percent increase in their food and beverage tax to generate additional revenue. Lawmakers turned down that request, too.

The final version of House Bill 193 allows city leaders to redirect revenues from Charlotte's existing occupancy and food and beverage taxes, earmarked for the city's Convention Center, to the stadium improvements instead. 

The bill would also allow Charlotte to use some of the revenue for amateur sports.

"There are no new taxes on this bill. There is no new revenue, state or local," said sponsor Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg. “There are just two new options for the Charlotte City Council to consider for using the revenue they already have.”

bankofamerica15 Some lawmakers call stadium money 'corporate welfare'

The proposal passed by a wide margin on a voice vote, but it had opponents on both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, spoke against it.

"I think this is corporate welfare. This is welfare for the Carolina Panthers at a time when we cannot afford, as a General Assembly, to be doing this sort of thing," Luebke said. "There’s just a supplanting of money that would go to the convention center."

Proponents say the bill is needed to keep the Panthers in Charlotte in the long term. Richardson has said he won't move the team elsewhere, but he says the city needs to make itself attractive to potential buyers who might feel otherwise.

The measure now goes to the Senate.


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  • Wirklich Mar 28, 2013

    I would like to hear from the usual Tea Party/GOP conservatives (who are regularly commenting,) to shed their wisdom, or are they hiding? :-)

    I assume you are okay with your GOP permitting an increase in taxes to directly support a "for profit" corporation?

  • sammy Mar 28, 2013

    I don't live in Charlotte, but I do enjoy spending some weekends there to watch the Panthers. I do not mind one bit to pay the extra taxes on my Motel, Restaurant, etc. tabs to help keep the Panthers in Charlotte.

    This should be a "no brainer" for Charlotte. You're collecting off of citizens who are visiting the city. (i.e me).

  • kornfan2448 Mar 28, 2013

    Roger Goodell makes $30 million and Richardson is worth $500 million, but they need to steer tax revenue to help pay for an upgrade to a stadium that gets the majority of it's use about 5 months out of the year? Okay, just checking.

  • marathonk Mar 27, 2013

    Although there is no increase in the hospitality tax, the benefit of the tax is being shifted from the city owned convention center to a privately owned organization. Essentially a subsidy of a for profit enterprise. Why should taxpayers be footing the bill for Jerry Richardson's NFL business. Either increase the private equity in the franchise enterprise or go to Bank of America or Wells Fargo for financing.

  • bawolf887 Mar 27, 2013

    Where is the outrage from the right over taxes being used to subsidize a bussiness?

    Oh, because it isn't coming out of someone's pay check directly. Or is it that most Republicans support pro-RICH policies under the delusional thought that one day they'll be rich also.

    Or it's not art, so now we're even. So wasteful spending is OK if it is payback against Democrat social policies.

    HYPOCRITS Rule: Do what I say, not what I do.

  • ILTBF Mar 27, 2013

    Oh no, Jerry Richardson's wealth is only $500 million. He needs all of us to help make him a billionaire so he can pay his lobbyist. Tax dollars are tax dollars whether it is local, state or federal.

  • mattcli Mar 27, 2013

    "Reading is Fundamental, folks.
    It's a HOTEL tax on room rentals as well as restaurant food/drinks." -- beaupeep

    To me the source and those affected are irrelevant. Taxes should not be levied to subsidize professional sports teams. If that means the teams go away, then so be it. I have no power over what Charlotte chooses to do, nor should I. If this is what they really want then so be it, but on principle I consider it wrong.

  • mattcli Mar 27, 2013

    As much as I enjoy sports, this is not what public funds are meant for. I'd hate to lose the Panthers, but taxpayer money shouldn't be funding any professional sports team. Find some private investment partners or sell the team to someone who can afford to keep it up on his own dime.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Mar 27, 2013

    Looks like the usual suspects have decide to run and hide, and hope this story disappears as quickly as possible.


  • wral mods blow close my account Mar 27, 2013

    Your GOP at work