The Missouri Development Finance Board approved $15 million in tax credits for the proposed new football stadium in St. Louis.
The board made the decision Tuesday, with the caveat that the money will not go to stadium planners until the board receives assurance that the credits benefit the state, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“There are ample protections for our investment,” said board chairwoman Marie Carmichael. “All the ducks have to be in order, all the stars have to be aligned. Everything has to be in place before any (credits) are expended.”
There has been disagreement surrounding the decision, and a “supermajority” of the state legislature sits in opposition to the use of tax credits in the construction of the riverfront stadium according to Missouri Rep. Jay Barnes, who presented a case to the board and asked for more information on the project’s financial ramifications for the state. State senator Rob Schaaf recently sent a letter to Gov. Jay Nixon promising to fillibuster “any appropriations bill” that includes stadium funding.
“If this board is serious about being responsible stewards of taxpayers dollars, it cannot vote to allow these tax credits to go forward with only the contingency seen in the project today,” Barnes said, according to the Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis’s existing stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, home to the Rams, is publicly governed. Its controlling body applied for the tax credits in July. The Dome authority has been funding plans for the proposed $998 million stadium under direction from Gov. Nixon’s stadium task force. The Finance Board request marks the proposal’s first public tax credit application, with the Dome authority requesting additional funds each of the next two years.
The current proposal includes funds of $450 million from the NFL, $201 million in bond proceeds from St. Louis and the state and $160 million from selling seat licenses, in addition to $187 million in tax credits.
The movement for a new stadium in St. Louis, designed to help keep the Rams in the city, comes as the NFL continues to pursue putting one or more franchises in Los Angeles, with the Rams, Raiders and Chargers all being teams that could potentially relocate.
- Jeremy Woo