Missouri governor-elect calls St. Louis soccer stadium plan “welfare for millionaires”

I admittedly hadn’t noticed that Missouri elected Eric Greitens as governor until yesterday, but he’s sure on my radar now:

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens said he opposes public funding for a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis, according to a statement released by his transition team Monday.

“This project is nothing more than welfare for millionaires,” Greitens said. “Right now, because of reckless spending by career politicians, we can’t even afford the core functions of government, let alone spend millions on soccer stadiums.

“This back-room wheeling and dealing is exactly what frustrates Missourians.”

The St. Louis MLS stadium project certainly qualifies as welfare for millionaires, involving $129 million in public cash, land, and tax credits to build a $200 million stadium. That’s not the sort of thing that governors usually say aloud, but Greitens has an unusual resumé, mixing altruism with serving in the Navy SEALs with hating on unions (he’s also the first-ever Jewish governor of Missouri), so maybe it’s not entirely unexpected.

Also, probably not entirely likely to do much, since the state Development Finance Board is set to vote on the city’s request for tax credits today, before Greitens takes office, and the rest of the stadium decision will be up to St. Louis city officials and voters. Still and all, it’s not going to help the soccer team’s ballot campaign to have the governor-elect publicly call them a bunch of rich guys with their hands out.


9 comments on “Missouri governor-elect calls St. Louis soccer stadium plan “welfare for millionaires”

  1. It will be interesting to watch him and see if he can carry that concept of priorities through his state budget. I googled his background and saw he had switched a year ago from Democrat to Republican and wrote why in a column. I pick up a little bit of naivete about money, public priorities, and the failures of both major parties in that regard, but with a statement like that about a soccer stadium, there is hope.

  2. There would be hope if the comment was about a baseball stadium. Fact is that this is being put in a vote for the public. The govener elect will do an about face as soon as the Cardinals want to ad to their baseball village.

    • I agree 100%. But all too often they get tough in front of the cameras when its a sport the old guys closet bash. This is a guy that jumped political parties , what this guy is looking for is some compensation to shut up. Again if it were the Cardinals returning for more hand outs or even an independent baseball league this turncoat would stay quiet.

  3. https://nextstl.com/2016/12/meric-study-sets-mls-stadium-net-economic-impact-24-5m-33-years/

    Neil, the link above is for a study based on the state increase state taxes.

    • There are a few problems with that study: It gives no source for the assumption that 30% of attendees would be in Missouri only to watch soccer (would that many cross the border from Illinois?), and the bit about player income taxes seems to ignore the fact that part of those players’ incomes would be siphoned off from other Missouri residents whose incomes would go down as residents reduced spending elsewhere to afford MLS tickets. Not saying you can’t get to $40 million in benefits, but this doesn’t convince me on its own.

      (And, of course, it’s still a $40 million state subsidy, even if it manages to be a subsidy that pays for itself.)

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