SBD/March 14, 2013/Facilities

Charlotte Submits New Tax Proposal To State Legislature For Panthers' Stadium Upgrades

The city of Charlotte yesterday asked the North Carolina General Assembly to "approve a smaller and shorter increase in the prepared food and beverage tax to help pay for renovations to Bank of America Stadium and keep the Carolina Panthers tied to the city," according to Steve Harrison of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The new request is to "increase the so-called meals tax by a half-cent for 15 years." The city said that the increase "would raise" $176M. The city "originally asked legislators to increase the local prepared food and beverage tax" from 1% to 2%, for 30 years. Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell yesterday in a letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Phil Berger said he feared the state's inability to raise the meals tax would “ultimately lead to the sale and relocation" of the Panthers. Mitchell was "the only elected official who signed the letter," and it is "unclear if the full City Council endorsed his plan in a full vote in closed session." State Rep. Becky Carney, a co-sponsor of a bill to let the city use existing taxes for the Charlotte Convention Center, said that "any tax increase is a non-starter." Carney: "They've already been told there's no appetite for a tax increase for anything." Harrison notes under the city's latest plan, Charlotte would "still use money from the Convention Center fund to help the Panthers." In the first year of the deal, the city would spend $16.7M "from the Convention Center surplus." After the first year, "revenue from the tax hike would cover the city's annual debt payments" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/14).
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