Missouri gov pulls brakes on St. Louis MLS team’s $30m tax credit request, now what?

[record scratch noise]:

State officials still want a private ownership group to build a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis, but they aren’t going to funnel $30 million in tax credits to help pay for it…

Rather than the $30 million, the administration is expected to support a $5.7 million infusion of state money if the ownership group asks.

This is unexpected, but maybe shouldn’t be: As KMOV reports, while the as-yet-unnamed MLS team has long been expecting $30 million in state tax credits as part of a roughly $60 million stadium subsidy from the city and state combined, the Missouri Development Finance Board has an annual cap of $10 million in credits that it can hand out, which makes giving out $30 million to the soccer team owners over two years kind of problematic. Approval of three state cabinet officials would have been needed to lift the cap, and that didn’t happen, so in effect the MDFB said, “We only have $5.7 million left, it’s yours if you want it.”

This is kind of a surprise, as Gov. Mike Parson’s office had previously expressed interest in working out a tax credit deal, and so far as I can tell no one had indicated that the tax credit cap would be an issue before now. There’s been no response from the team owners to this new roadblock, but given that the new stadium is supposed to be open by March 2022, there’ll need to be some resolution to this funding gap sooner than later.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office released this statement:

The City of St. Louis and Mayor Krewson remain incredibly excited about having an MLS team. We don’t believe the state’s decision will interfere with our support of the #MLS4TheLou ownership group and their commitment to this project. It’s a more than $460 million private investment in Downtown West that will anchor a revitalized mixed-use district, create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, and unite the City around this global sport. Bring on 2022!

So does that mean that Krewson thinks the state will eventually find $30 million in tax credit money, even if it takes a few more years? Or that the city will cover the state’s share? (It was technically the city that was asking for the credits on the team’s behalf.) Or that the team owners will move ahead with the project even without the full $30 million, in which case why was everybody saying the $30 million in state money was necessary in the first place? So very many important questions — hopefully we’ll have some answers soon, so watch this space.

2 comments on “Missouri gov pulls brakes on St. Louis MLS team’s $30m tax credit request, now what?

  1. Inter Miami and Nashville SC soccer specific stadiums dead in their tracks for the time being (although, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers stadium moving along nicely). St. Louis? Not looking good for King Garber, MotherLand of Soccer (MLS) and requirement for new franchises soccer specific stadiums.

    You think that’s why King Garber is good with Tepper and Charlotte’s new MLS franchise playing at Bank of America Stadium? Or is it the $325 million infusion of cash aka franchise fee? Ponzi schemes can be so problematic!

  2. It’s amazing to me that there are people out there who really believe that every single city can have a viable MLS team. Getting in early may have made some sense but as it becomes increasingly clear that expansion fees are the main thing MLS is depending on to keep the lights on how are these city leaders justifying these sorts of deals in their own minds? TV ratings for this last regular season were down 19%. That should be absolutely terrifying to anybody thinking about forming a team.