Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina should not put state tax dollars into the Carolina Panthers stadium in Charlotte but could vote to authorize a rise in the local sales tax, House Speaker Thom Tillis said Tuesday.
During a news conference with reporters in Raleigh, Tillis was asked whether he had met with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
"Every month, I probably have an opportunity to meet two or three times with major businesses in North Carolina that are considering moving somewhere else, and that is a very real possibility for the Panthers," said Tillis, R-Mecklenburg. He added, "They create some 4,400 direct jobs, and some 1,500 indirect jobs. They are a major employer in North Carolina."
Tillis described discussions with the team as "preliminary" but said he has taken one avenue for state support out of the discussion.
"I've been clear with the Panthers organization that it is not appropriate to have state taxpayer dollars go directly into the stadium," Tillis said.
Earlier this month, the Charlotte City Council voted 7-2 to back a $125 million public investment in Bank of America Stadium. That plan would raise local sales taxes on prepared food and beverage.