New Missouri gov says no state stadium funding, no way, no how

Sorry for the radio silence of the last few days: I was traveling, and while intending to get back to the stadium grind yesterday, a red-eye flight proved to be incompatible with a regular morning posting schedule. (Though I did find time to finish up some music writing I’d been working on, if that interests you.)

Thankfully, Missouri governor-elect Eric Greitens didn’t take the holidays off, greeting us to 2017 by upping the ante on his comments that MLS stadium funding would be “welfare to millionaires” with a great big raised middle finger to plans for state tax breaks for a St. Louis soccer stadium, telling journalists on Monday: “To be very clear, I have completely ruled out state funding for stadiums.”

Greitens reiterated his description of state aid for stadiums as ”welfare for millionaires” but said he “looks forward to meeting with the leaders of the MLS project to see if there’s a way for them to bring private-sector funding to bring a soccer team to the state of Missouri.”

“We are not going to use money from the people of the state of Missouri for what I believe is corporate welfare,” Greitens said. “We’ve got far too many core priorities of government that have to be invested in.”

That’s about as clear as clear can be. Without the $40 million in state tax credits, the MLS proposal has a (wait for it) $40 million hole in its budget, one that neither the city of St. Louis (which would already be putting up $89 million of its own public cash) nor the team’s prospective owners (who would already be, uh, paying the league’s $150 million expansion fee, what do you want from them, blood?) seems eager to fill. Stadium bill sponsor Ald. Christine Ingrassia remarked following Greitens’ remarks, “I was hoping to get to the point where this proposal made sense for St. Louis, but I’m feeling that less and less,” while Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff said, “It will be tough to get this done without the state’s support.”

Not that this kills the St. Louis MLS plan dead: $40 million isn’t an insurmountable gap, and the team owners aren’t likely to just walk away from that $89 million in city subsidies without trying to make it work. But with only three weeks before the deadline to get a vote on the April ballot, there isn’t much time to go back to the drawing board if they’re hoping to get something approved this year. Time for everybody to watch Lewis Reed really, really closely.


10 comments on “New Missouri gov says no state stadium funding, no way, no how

  1. It’s going to be a weekly thing again now that the Brooklyn book is done, so keep checking in! Or, follow me on Twitter/FB/RSS for links.

  2. The new governor renews my faith in American leadership – at least on this issue.

    As far as the music writing, I would love for you to somehow make a top ten song on stadium funding to get the point across to the masses.

  3. This new governor seems like the real deal when it comes to this terrible deal to bring the world’s most boring game to St Louis

    • The world’s most boring game left St. Louis last year. The Rams might be the only NFL team that scores less frequently than a soccer team.

  4. I’ll vote for this guy for President just based on this action. Hopefully more politicians will step up. It’s funny that a Dem states this, I’d think a Rep would be more likely to want to control government spending. But welfare for millionaires for stadiums is apparently bipartisan.

      • He used to be a dem until about a year or two ago according to a column I read. Just google his background. He wrote a column about changing parties.

      • Try this to read his rationale for changing parties. I do not totally agree with his rationale, but it apparently worked for him. I think both major parties spend with poor priorities:
        http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/07/13/former-navy-seal-why-am-no-longer-democrat.html

  5. The St.L blues hockey team wants $138 million in renovation subsidies . Let’s see the what this super hero turncoat governor has to say on subsidies to a sport no one in that city plays.

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