NC to let Charlotte give Panthers $88 million for no reason at all, if they want

The North Carolina legislature may not be willing to give Charlotte a restaurant-tax hike to pay for Carolina Panthers stadium renovations, but they did vote yesterday to allow Charlotte to use its existing hotel-tax money on the Panthers. Unanimously, even.

The problem for Charlotte now is that the hotel taxes are already being used to pay off the Charlotte Convention Center, so it’s not as simple as just handing the money over to the Panthers. Charlotte councilmember James Mitchell estimates that the city could maybe afford to give the Panthers $88 million, which is a lot less than the $206 million they’d initially requested. Mitchell said that “it’s time for us to re-engage with the Panthers and talk about a lower-cost upgrade to the stadium.”

Unfortunately, Mitchell also said that with less money at stake, there’s no way the Panthers will agree to a promise to stay put in Charlotte for 15 years in exchange for the stadium cash. Which makes you wonder why Charlotte would give them any money at all — a promise to stay put for only a few years isn’t worth squat, especially since any other city wanting to lure the team would take years just to get a stadium built. But apparently to some Charlotte lawmakers, getting something worthless for less is better than getting something marginally more valuable for more. Too bad there’s nobody in the state who could explain to them why this makes no sense.

2 comments on “NC to let Charlotte give Panthers $88 million for no reason at all, if they want

  1. Actually, it think it would be over $110 million when it’s said and done. I already submitted an editorial to my local paper about this. It enrages me that State Senators in my area voted unanimously for this when Asheville has been trying to get a similar funding mechanism for a much smaller regional arts center for years to no avail, not to mention rebuff my own “WNC Dome” regional disaster shelter with a plethora of flimsy excuses. This is on top of the NASCAR Hall of Fame (there’s a NC Racing Hall of Fame in nearby Mooresville), and the Time-Warner Cable Arena they already have.

    Charlotte gets enough representation from their own Senators. Amazingly, 31 of the 45 who voted for this are Republicans, the “party of small business.” (HA!) But so is the Governor, who used to be Charlotte’s mayor. Votes like this tell talented young people to move to the bigger cities, so this vote betrays the interests of my area.

  2. Dennis, this is local money that is effectively being re-allocated in Mecklenburg County so I don’t see that this affects you at all in Buncombe. Pat has already said that NC isn’t pledging any State money so, once again Meck Co. taxpayers are left to foot the bill for what is supposed to be a “regional” team. The SC flag flies at BofA Stadium, so why don’t they step up as well? While we’re at it, how about anything from Gaston, Cabarrus, Lincoln, Union or Iredell? One more thing, the state leaders in Raleigh should keep their hands off Charlotte-Douglas Int’l Airport. I think you need to do a bit more research before you complain about how this affects Buncombe County. The real losers here are Char-Meck taxpayers at the hands of Raleigh once again.