NFL Panthers' Stadium Renovation Plans Take Hit As State Denies Public Money
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory yesterday said that “no state money would be available" for the Panthers, "complicating the team’s bid for public money to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium,” according to a front-page piece by Jim Morrill of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The team has “asked the state" for $62.5M toward a planned $250M renovation. But McCrory said, “We don’t have the money in the state to address that issue.” He added that the team “doesn’t qualify for an incentive grant from the state Commerce department.” Morrill writes the decision “represents a setback for the Panthers.” This comes four days after state legislators “effectively turned down a city of Charlotte plan" that would have given the team $144M from a municipal tax hike. State Sen. Ruth Samuelson on Thursday led a group of state legislators in introducing a "bill to help the Panthers with existing taxes." Samuelson said any bill raising taxes “won’t go anywhere.” It is unclear whether Charlotte "will make a counterproposal" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/5).
DON'T BET ON IT: In Minneapolis, Hopfensperger & Stassen-Berger reported Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday “reiterated his support for the Vikings stadium funding plan" despite the state forecasting that taxes from charitable gambling would "fall far short" of projections. Those revenues are now forecast to run $15M less "than was projected” this year, and $46M less in '14 and '15. Dayton said, “It’s not an insurmountable problem, but it is a problem. ... We will solve it.” He added that no bonds “have been sold to finance the new stadium," and that "none will be sold until August.” The gambling taxes were “projected to raise" the state’s $348M share of the Vikings' new $975M stadium. Hopes were “pinned on the introduction of new electronic pulltab and linked bingo games," but there has been a "slower-than-expected rollout of the games.” In November, $17.1M was "projected to be generated for stadium funding from the games this year, but that figure has "plunged" to $1.9M (STARTRIBUNE.com, 3/2).