Hey! So remember the $100 million or so in “city event day taxes” that it was revealed last week the city of St. Louis was going to be putting in toward a new Rams stadium under Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan, filling a budget hole of that size? Turns out two things:
- “City event day taxes” really does mean kickbacks of existing city sales taxes, ticket taxes, and team income taxes, as I had guessed.
- You can forget all that, because according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist David Nicklaus, that plan has now been withdrawn, and we’re back to a $100 million budget hole.
Wha happen? This, apparently: On Friday, city comptroller Darlene Green complained that the added tax kickbacks, on top of hotel taxes that would be extended and redirected from paying off the Jones Dome, “would put the city’s credit at risk and potentially lead to higher interest costs to issue bonds for much needed citywide public safety and infrastructure improvements.” Dave Peacock, chair of the governor’s stadium task force that came up with the proposal, responded that “everyone is reacting to old information, one idea that was being considered and is no longer being considered.” Peacock said. Mayor Francis Slay’s office then added that the game-day tax plan “was put forth by the task force but was not OK with the city. The mayor described it as dead on arrival.”
Peacock tried to defend the now-86ed plan by saying that there had long been plans to use game-day revenues to fund the stadium — if so, I hadn’t noticed, but even I’m not all-seeing about local stadium news, so maybe? In any event, even if having the city forgo sales and income taxes from Rams games — something the city currently collects, mind you — isn’t totally off the table, it’s certainly no longer something Nixon can count on for his plan. So, we’re back to $388 million from the city and state and then $100 million from “TBD.” Is it any wonder the NFL is sending its other owners around to get all shouty about this? Extortion really doesn’t work unless people agree to pay the ransom with all due haste, people!