Apparently some Charlotte legislators just can’t get enough of giving money to the Carolina Panthers: Not only did the city council vote to hand over $144 million for stadium renovations, including renovations to replace parts that haven’t even been built yet, but at least one councilmember wants to prepare to build a whole new stadium to replace the one they’re paying to renovate. Council economic development committee chair James Mitchell told the Charlotte Business Journal yesterday that the council approved a 30-year 1% hike in restaurant taxes, more than would be needed for the Panthers’ renovations, so that there’ll be a pot of money to replace Bank of America Stadium entirely in the not-too-distant future:
“In another 15 years, the stadium will be 32 years old,” he said. “Do you want to have to ask for more money? We can build a reserve and we can start building on amateur sports. It’s a 2-for-1.”
There are several jaw-dropping elements to this, not least that I can’t recall an elected official asserting that a stadium needs to be replaced at the same time he’s proposing spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fix it up. Even more remarkable, though, is that you have a local legislator proposing setting aside money that the team owners not only haven’t asked for, they haven’t even asked for the stadium itself. You gotta hand it to American technology — we’ve finally developed the first self-blackmailing politician.