Supporting the Will of St. Louis City Voters Is Not the Same as Opposing an NFL Stadium

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stadium stadium

I’m not opposed to development of the north riverfront. In fact, I think it’s one of the most underutilized land resources this great city has. I’m not opposed to football stadiums. I recognize that professional sports bring excitement, economic activity and hopes and dreams to youth in our schools. I don’t oppose the use of public funds, or entertainment taxes generated by stadiums to build boxes for men to throw balls at each other. In fact, building a stadium has the potential to revitalize the riverfront, create much needed jobs, and excite the region.

What I am opposed to is skirting the vote of the people. The residents of St. Louis, through an initiative petition, voted in 2002 to require public funds for a stadium to go to the general public. Even though this was thrown out of court on a technicality, the will of the people was to have a say in this funding.

This vote is particularly important because for me as an elected official because while I want to support exciting regional opportunities for jobs and growth, I see some major red flags with this particular proposal. Although the Board of Aldermen has been kept largely in the dark about the financial plan, and we know little more than the general public, what I do know and what does worry me is this:

  1. Louis County is off the hook. We all know that residents of the county enjoy football as much as residents of the city. The county committed to the Edward Jones Dome, and should commit to this regional project as well. Letting them off the hook gives the city a larger than fair share of this tax burden.
  2. Our Comptroller has stated that appropriation of over $6M puts our city’s credit at risk. Our rating has already slipped this year from A1 to Aa3. This will lead to higher interest rates on much-needed city services such as public safety and infrastructure. I would like to see the state step up and issue these bonds especially in light of our governor letting the county off the financial hook.
  3. We don’t currently have a strong commitment from an NFL team. It is clear to me that Kroenke may move to California. There is no indicator that another team wants to move here. I would like to see a real commitment before moving forward with spending millions of our city’s money.
  4. A financial plan. A $1BILLION investment should not move forward without an economic study. If this is being conducted, it is being done in a vacuum, without including the elected officials expected to blindly support this.
  5. The will of the people, though an initiative petition in 2002, was to put stadium funding to a vote of the people. Skirting this would mean ignoring the very people who elected us.

Let’s not forget there are a lot of ways to generate jobs, build infrastructure and strengthen our region. The expansion of MetroLink, for example, can accomplish all of those things. I want to reiterate that what I am doing today is calling for a vote, I am not calling for opposition because, as an elected alderperson in the City of St. Louis, I still have not been informed as to the details of any financial plan enough to offer support or opposition. And at the end of the day, I am opposed to rejecting the will of the voters of this city.

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  • Kimberly R Hampton

    Did I miss something in this? Proponents say that there is somewhere between $800 and $900 million in private investment. I thought, as it was presented, that there would be $200 million from the NFL (as a loan to the team) and between $200 and $250 million from the team making the private contribution–at most–$450 million. Even if you add in the supposed PSL money and the naming rights money (which the NFL considers to not be the public contribution), it’s not $850 million. So please tell me where this private money is coming from.

    Now…as to the public vote. Let’s not forget that the reason that StLCo is not in this deal is because CoExec Stenger said that he thought that it had to go to a vote. But since Nixon-Peacock-Blitz knew that they were going to be saying that this was going to require public money, why didn’t they–when they first presented the plan–have proposed legislation ready to go for both the city and the county that would have clarified everything. Instead of spending all that time fighting the city ordinance, they could have had the wording for a proposal ready to go so it could have been on the ballot in Nov.

  • Unfortunately, at this stage, requiring a public vote is exactly the same as marking every voter’s ballot for them with a NO vote. Alderpersons are going to have to actually study the issue themselves and vote in the best interests of the city and their constituents. One Alderperson wrote a letter to the editor in the Post today calling for a vote, and then possibly building the stadium some day in the future. But this deal for the NFL to pay for almost half of the stadium is on the table now. In the future, we’re back the to dome situation where the public will need to fund all if it. So does St Louis want the $850 million from the NFL, stadium users, advertisers, and the state for thousands of construction jobs? Or do we let the NFL move those jobs to Inglewood? Either way, there will never be a public vote, because any vote scheduled in March will have become OBE. It would be easy to say we should have had a vote in the past, and therefore we must punish Peacock and Blitz and St. Louis Rams fans (and reward Kroenke) by killing this whole deal for St Louis. Is that the best thing for the city?

    • John R

      I think it is arguable either way of what’s best thing for the city… it looks like the proposal may have evolved into a regional good and city liability at the same time. And that’s a damned shame b/c if it were a shared regional burden the plan might be one of the better public/private stadium plans to date.

      But back to the public vote, I’d say there’s a decent chance (not likely but better odds than in Dumb & Dumber “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!…” maybe 20-25%?) that the NFL will decide by March or even in 2016. Now that a real and very tough decision has to be made, I don’t know if they’ll be able to do so within a few months after January applications.

      Anyway, I’d like the bill to go through solid hearings and process and would rather have the BoA have that possibility out there rather than just outright say no, we don’t want you, if that’s what the majority want. (Put another way, it’s better for stadium proponents to have opponents on BoA vote to put it to at least put it to a public vote rather than reject it outright.) What I’m not sure of though is when the Board would have to be passed to put it on the March ballot so I don’t know how that might work in practicality..

      • John R

        I meant of course a better than “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!” that the NFL will not vote by March on relocation,

      • In retrospect, it might have been better to have two sites planned, one in the city and one in Fenton or OFallon, as they did with the NGA. Then the City would be fighting to not lose this to the suburbs. With only one site, Aldermen feel comfortable holding it hostage until they get their ransome. Antonio wants a comprehensive crime plan, something he could write himself for a BOA vote, but instead tied it to the stadium. So if the City is the cause of losing the Rams, I think the region will need to look more broadly to portions of the region that don’t have to fix other issues before supporting major regional assets. I could imagine Chesterfield offering the Symphony a gorgeous new Hall, for instance. A separate new MLS stadium probably could never be built in the City for all the same reasons as the NFL stadium. OKC is spending huge amounts of public money on private developments and it is paying off. We need to find a government entity here that wants to compete with OKC.

        • Benjamin Aronov

          *We need to find oil fields here that want to compete with OKC.

          • It isn’t oil in OKC as much as it is that their city limits encircle 70% of their metro area. It’s just a political boundary difference that STL politicians could fix if they weren’t just concerned about keeping their jobs.

          • Benjamin Aronov

            Government can only work if there are tax dollars to be had. More tax dollars -> better government results (not necessarily any more efficient, just able to do more). Why do you think you said Chesterfield could offer a new symphony? Cause they attracted a large percentage of the regions tax dollars. Why do you think OKC can spend huge amounts of public money? Cause they have it. To compare OKC with STL is an apples and oranges comparison. OKC is a new, suburban American city that is booming because of oil money. STL is an old, urban American city that is dying because we care more about spending money on fancy toys like football stadiums rather than fixing the real problems. I agree with your last line about politicians could fix many of these issues if they weren’t just concerned about keeping their jobs, but that would require there to be actual good jobs outside of stealing from the public.

          • I grew up in Oklahoma. OKC totally funded the Chesapeake Energy Arena in 2002 with city money and then upgraded luxury boxes in 2008 when the Seattle SuperSonics to become the NBA Thunder in 2008. And OKC metro area is ranked much worse than STL in crime. The attitude that we are dying and OKC is booming is self-fullfilling. I prefer St Louis over OKC for a lot of reasons, but I hate the attitude here at we can’t keep up with othe similar Midwestern cities. It is nonsense.

          • A

            it seems to me that YOU and others have the attitude that losing a football team means that the city is dying. many of us don’t feel that way, and the majority of economists certainly don’t feel that way. in terms of “keeping up” with football stadiums, you’re confusing “can’t” with “don’t care to”. also, i have no idea what connection you’re trying to make between metro crime rankings and the SuperSonics moving to OKC, but i’ll point out that Seattle seems to be prospering despite losing them.

        • Danrarbc

          “In retrospect, it might have been better to have two sites planned, one in the city and one in Fenton or OFallon, as they did with the NGA. Then the City would be fighting to not lose this to the suburbs.”

          There is already a city to fight against though. STL is fighting to not lose this to LA.

    • Danrarbc

      The United States is a republic. The city of St Louis is as well. We vote for representatives that then go on to make decisions for us. We pay you to make these decisions, to the tune of $41,200 each – and $84,200 to the president of the board.

      Do what we’ve elected you to do.

      • Alex Ihnen

        We also conduct popular votes on a number issues, including taxes for transit, parks, greenways, highway infrastructure, sewer replacement, and more. I’m not sure there’s a clear reason for some being popular votes and some being decided by elected representatives, but we do both.

  • Brian

    A good deal of the rhetoric supporting the stadium (the City’s share is small; someone else will pay for it via special tourist taxes; it will bring in all sorts of new revenue to the City; it is a sure thing; we need it to be a first-class city, etc.) is reminiscent (to me at least) of the arguments for another billiion-dollar project in our recent past: the additional runway at Lambert Airport.

    We were told that the runway was absolutely crucial to our future prosperity; without it, the region would continue to lose jobs, corporate headquarters, and economic relevance. We were told that much of the cost would be covered by connecting passengers through landing fees added to tickets. We were told that with the runway, STL would be able to expand as a hub, which would give locals more options to more destinations. We were told it would create thousands of jobs through the magic multiplier that is trotted out to support all sorts of public investments. We were told that all of this was guaranteed to happen, and data on the growing demand for air travel was offered to support this argument.

    In the end, the runway project was very good for the concrete manufacturers, construction companies, engineering firms, and labor unions. The rest of us, not so good. We lost our hub with the TWA buyout, so we have fewer flights and fewer direct flights to non-hum destinations. Ticket prices for STL travelers are relatively high, due to decreased competition and the increased landing fees. Bridgeton lost a neighborhood, and we lost more company headquarters. To be sure, there were many outside influences (911, industry consolidation, and declining business travel) that had a negative impact on Lambert. But some of these things should have been foreseeable by our civic and business leaders. If they saw them, they elected to ignore them or wish them away, and sell us a vision of a guaranteed better future.

    As George W. Bush once said, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….uh, you see, you can’t fool me a second time.”

    • Brian Wahby

      The airport expansion is probably the best example of how fragmented government in this region dramatically impacts the growth of St. Louis. The city of Bridgeton was able to stymie the airport expansion plane for years; years which ultimately cost us air service and probably siginificant growth potential. What would have been the case if Bridget Mick sits, if St. Louis was one region, if the plan for the airport was conceived by a central regional government ? Would we be sitting here today with the D terminal vacant? No one can say for sure, but clearly the municipality of Bridgeton with its population 17,000 of held back progress for a region of nearly 2,900,000 people.

      • Andy

        Well said Brian. It appears that most of the issues with the MSA and development here always end up at the city/county divide and our ridiculous number of irrelevant cities. Someday, we will figure out that in order to stay competitive as our world continues to shrink, that we need to stop competing with the city 3 blocks away with TIF fights. Instead of the county stealing residents from the city, we should be worrying about Chicago, KC, etc. as the main brain drain sources.

        If the city included the county and the muni’s were designated neighborhoods, $150-250 million from the “city” would not be as big of an issue.

  • Raquel Abdelnour

    the most successful franchises finance and own their own stadiums, if they can’t do that, you don’t want them anyway

  • SnakePlissken

    Minor point…

    I love how people argue that the MLS would add a team if we build the stadium. This has never been confirmed. It improves our chances but people are arguing that it will in fact happen if we build it. Drives me nuts.

  • Matt B.

    I’m still upset with the fact that Kroencke is willing to pay for his stadium in LA but if we can’t find an owner that’s willing to pay for their own stadium here then c’est la vie, maybe we aren’t meant to have an NFL team. The only part of this whole fiasco that’s keeping my attention is the potential this stadium has in bringing an MLS team to our market, something many many people actually are in favor of and support.

  • Christopher Dimza

    “Let’s not forget there are a lot of ways to generate jobs, build infrastructure and strengthen our region. The expansion of MetroLink, for example, can accomplish all of those things.” Well said Cara.

    • John David

      How do you propose the City pays for a multi billion dollar metro link expansion? The city will be asked to contribute $70m total, according to the latest released figures). The $6m per year the city will be committing via extension of already existing bonds to the stadium project wouldn’t build much more than a few hundred feet worth of metro link tracks. Sure the stadium is a billion dollar project, but over $900m of it is coming from outside the city limits. If you think that by opposing the stadium that the outside investment of $900m is going to suddenly become available for funding metro you’re totally wrong. Here’s an idea for you…support development projects that bring large numbers of people into downtown multiple times per year, such as a stadium, that increase traffic density. With increased traffic density there will be extra incentive to expand public transportation.

      • Sean Dingman

        That’s funny, last time I looked, we already HAVE a football stadium AND and NFL team….and lets see they are in, Downtown. And guess what…they are a net drain on city resources. They don’t attract people to downtown the way the Cardinals do. So you are proposing we spend MORE money to do exactly the same thing we are doing right now…because?…Oh wait, there will be one thing different, the Rams will move to LA anyway and we will be stuck holding the bag. Great plan.

  • John R

    Per STLToday, it looks like the plan indeed is for the CIty to give up some/most/tbd of the taxes it gets now from gameday activity to help recoup the $6 million a year subsidy. It’ll be interesting to see how this may impact the city budget/credit rating.

    • Alex Ihnen

      It will be interesting to see the full final proposal.

  • rgbose

    Months ago it seemed like it was almost a certainty that the Rams were leaving. The whole stadium for “an NFL team” thing. If this passes the BoA and then it’s announced in Jan that the Rams are leaving, the vote will become the scapegoat instead of just the outcome (Rams leaving) that’s been obvious for a while now.

  • rgbose

    Shall we get rid of the Hancock Amendments so the state legislature can do there job?

  • Danrarbc

    “Louis County is off the hook. We all know that residents of the county enjoy football as much as residents of the city. The county committed to the Edward Jones Dome, and should commit to this regional project as well. Letting them off the hook gives the city a larger than fair share of this tax burden.”
    The city’s share of the Dome project was 25%. The share in the new stadium is 15%. The county didn’t figure in this round because Stenger already said he wouldn’t get this on a ballot in 2015 early this year.

    “Our Comptroller has stated that appropriation of over $6M puts our city’s credit at risk. Our rating has already slipped this year from A1 to Aa3. This will lead to higher interest rates on much-needed city services such as public safety and infrastructure. I would like to see the state step up and issue these bonds especially in light of our governor letting the county off the financial hook.”
    Dave Peacock has publicly stated their bill will keep the $6M bond payment level, it will not increase.

    “We don’t currently have a strong commitment from an NFL team. It is clear to me that Kroenke may move to California. There is no indicator that another team wants to move here. I would like to see a real commitment before moving forward with spending millions of our city’s money.”
    Time and time again everyone involved has said not a dime is spent on stadium construction without commitment from a team. Dave Peacock went so far as to say that it won’t even be spent without a lease signed – a lease that won’y have an escape clause.

    “A financial plan. A $1BILLION investment should not move forward without an economic study. If this is being conducted, it is being done in a vacuum, without including the elected officials expected to blindly support this.”
    One study on this plan has already been completed and another will be done shortly IIRC. You’re an alderwoman though. You tell me what an extra 4 full months of convention availability would do for the city’s income?

    “The will of the people, though an initiative petition in 2002, was to put stadium funding to a vote of the people. Skirting this would mean ignoring the very people who elected us.”
    It passed 55% to 45% – I cannot locate the voter turnout information, but in a non-presidential year it can’t have been too high. It is a stretch to call it the will of the people and the court has already struck that ordinance down.

    • John R

      Dan,
      A critical point is that people were led to believe it would only be the same $6 million a year (plus maybe some new revenue streams like parking, etc. from gamedays that weren’t available at EJD) but that isn’t what was submitted to the City the first round, where Peacock would have had us put a second bond issue together. The good news is that Slay and Darlene Green rejected this as it would have harmed our credit rating and upped our taxes. But these developments and the delay have caused a lot of frustration and help explain bills like Megan’s. If it were a simple bond extension that would have been introduced weeks ago when the BoA returned from break and would pass with relative ease.

    • Michael B

      It’s disingenuous to suggest that “not a dime is spent” when a lot of money has already been spent on plans for a stadium that may never be built: http://tinyurl.com/q7c8swo

      I understand that these things cost money, but the city has known for years that this issue was coming up. Yet they waited until the last year to start the processes necessary. Now we’re in a time-crunch and Peacock and Company are shoving things down the pipeline with very little transparency. If they were worried that a public vote would jeopardize the project they should have started the project earlier. Now they’re over $5 million in and are telling us that we can’t vote on it. This does not build trust. You can’t complain that people are misinformed on an issue and at the same time make no effort to be transparent in your actions.

      • Danrarbc

        The Dome lease prevented any discussion of any other stadium projects until the year to year clause was activated.

  • Jim

    I stopped taking this article seriously after the first paragraph. What an unnecessarily condescending statement ” I’m not opposed to building a box for men to throw footballs at each other.” I’m a hardcore dem, but crap like this gives is why there is such animosity towards the city.

    • Still… agree…

      “…but crap like this gives is why there is such animosity towards the city.”

      What does this even mean? Animosity by whom? By county residents who aren’t going to have to pay a dime for the stadium? Football is in fact just a game where men throw balls at one another, and Alderman Spencer was emphasizing that there are more important priorities.

  • SAWC

    I love how people keep goading the board of alderman to vote when, apart from voting on this public referendum bill, there’s nothing else—stadium wise—for them to vote on. What “hard decision” are you all talking about? The stadium team has done everything in it’s power to skirt a public vote. If they hadn’t wasted time fighting it in court it could have happened already. That it hasn’t is, to some extent, their own fault.

  • Daniel S. Leritz

    This is an incredible lack of leadership by these Aldermen. It is supposed to be the job of our Aldermen, whom we as a constituency elected, to vote on City issues on our behalf.

    Let’s all remember that the St. Louis Circuit Courts ruled on Monday, August 3rd that the 2002 City Ordinance was unconstitutional, the court’s reasoning being that the Ordinance itself was overly vague, full of uncertainties, and rife with guesswork in its interpretation. With that, it was made fully evident that it was in the purview of the Board of Aldermen to vote on this issue in lieu of a public vote.

    Now, almost three months later, Aldermanic Bill 207 seeks a public vote. Quite simply, they’re kicking the can down the road. Is it because decisions are hard?

    Meanwhile, the earliest a special election vote could now be called will likely be March 2016 (at great public cost in the process). This doesn’t change how the NFL will vote on which teams may relocate to Los Angeles in January, a timeframe that has been understood since last January. Therefore, this issue will have already been decided by the NFL before this special election is even held. One has to question whether or not these Aldermen are just seeking to pass the buck, not voting for something that they either do not understand adequately enough or that they do not have the fortitude to address themselves before certain of their constituents.

    If our Aldermen don’t support the stadium development, then that is their right. We as a constituency will live with that decision, however it goes, because they are our elected leaders. But, to seek a public vote now, three months after the courts’ decision, and by this timing determined that such a vote won’t even take place likely until two months after the issue becomes moot by the NFL’s January vote, is either total incompetence or outright cowardice.

    They are unwilling to vote in favor of what will be the largest single construction project in City history, creating thousands of construction jobs in the process, retaining a major tourism draw for the region, and garnering millions in net new revenues for the City’s coffers, all with a sound funding mechanism that does not require contributions from the City’s coffers or from City residents, and in the process retaining a local major business. Oh, and in the process, this’ll keep Major League Soccer from coming to St. Louis, too, despite their clear and present interests.

    As a City resident, I am disheartened and disgusted.

    • Alex Ihnen

      I think that if it were very clear that a new NFL stadium did not require funding from the city or city residents and netted millions for the city, everyone would be for it. However, these things are not clear, or at least many people believe they are not.

      • John R

        Right, The original plan Peacock tried to sell the City on would have raised our taxes and harmed our credit rating and was promptly rejected. Right now Peacock and Slay are trying to figure out a way for them to keep a straight face while arguing they met the “no new taxes without a public vote” pledge that Slay made. Hopefully they are successful in meeting that challenge; but it seems pretty clear we can give up on any thought that this will be a big boon for city taxpayers as we’ll have to give up all the revenue to pay for the thing.

    • John R

      As a City resident, I am disheartened and disgusted that Peacock and Nixon didn’t have the courage to set up public votes for November 3rd asking for a continuation of the status quo of $6 million bond obligations each from the City and County…. those would have won handily.

      Instead, these two decided to cut out the County participation as Stenger committed to a public vote and in doing so placed the local burden entirely on the shoulders of the City and their now finding it more challenging than they thought to come up with a way to do that without harming our credit rating and raising our taxes. There’s your failure of leadership right there.

    • Are you disgusted that St. Louis County, St Charles County and Jefferson County won’t life a finger for the stadium? Apparently elected leadership in those counties already has decided that St. Louis doesn’t need a major league football team.

      • John David

        You do realize that the State of Mo is investing 200m+ in tax incentives to the stadium project. Last time I checked St. Louis County, St Charles County and Jefferson County were all part of the State of Mo and contribute taxes to the Mo General Fund.

        • John R

          The local burden is entirely on Saint Louis City… we’re being asked to give up more this time around while the County is off scot-free from any financial obligation. That is revolting.

          • John David

            If the City of Saint Louis wants downtown to continue to be the place where people from all across the metro gather for large events and be the center of the region, it will do what it must to make sure that the substantial private investment that’s being offered happens and the stadium is built. Period.

            I think both Ms. Spencer and Ms. Green and people like yourself look pretty stupid demanding to let the people vote. For example, Ms. Green makes a twitter statement talking about how much detail and information will need to be reviewed in the Stadium proposal and how the people know nothing. The average voter will NEVER take the time to fully review the proposal.

            So we’ve got an issue that has a lot of detail and will take some time to review, but you think the uninformed public at large should make the decision on what is best for the future of the City of St. Louis and downtown, and not the person who’s job it is to review the information? Makes sense. Why are these people in office again?

            Just take a look through this thread. How many people, yourself included, fully understand the policy and long term economic development implications beyond simple spoon fed soundbites and preconceived self selection biases. How many people think the City of Saint Louis is actually on the hook for a billion dollars, the full cost of the stadium project? How many people think that we should instead spend that billion dollars on metro link or education or some other project, failing to grasp that $850m+ is investment from outside of the City limits and contingent on the stadium being built. Lots of them, including some folks who posted in these very comments. This is the reason people like Ms. Spencer and Ms. Green were elected to the BoA. If both Ms. Spencer and Ms. Green are against the stadium (and it certainly appears that they are based on their writing and comments), they should just come on out and say so. In fact I urge them to vote their conscious on this matter and allow an straight up or down vote on the BoA floor. This is the reason we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.

            But they should know this: there are many people like myself who do business in the City and want to see this City moving forward with not only this stadium project, but other projects like the NGA because economic development is central to this city’s future. Having a vibrant downtown that’s the focal point of the region is important to this city’s future. If Ms. Spencer, Ms. Green and any other alderman or alderwoman wants to stand in the way, that is their choice. But I also have a choice, and I also have a checkbook ready to donate to any viable candidate that runs against them in the next election.

          • John R

            I don’t even know how to respond to this comment.

          • Agree 4-eva.

            Yeah, it always devolves into the same unsubstantiated claims of “investment”, “traffic”, and “development” that we hear with every new stadium proposal, none of which ever actually happen. Well, I guess the “investment” part happens if you consider only the money that goes into building the actual venue. And then come the “you look pretty stupid”-style tantrums…

          • Devin in South City

            I think it comes down to what a “vibrant downtown” consists of. I’m not saying we have one now, but big building projects do not build that. Ballpark Village hasn’t resulted in a ton of vibrancy, and has been especially disappointing when the reality is compared with what was promised. What we have there is mostly a large parking lot.

            But a vibrant city consists of vibrant neighborhoods. And policies that lead to more people living, working, and starting businesses in neighborhoods is what leads to a vibrant city.

            For sure, we would forgo $850M in investment, but many of us think that this just isn’t a good investment.

        • Brian

          As do the citizens of the City of St. Louis. City residents are being asked to ante up twice: once as Missourians, and once as City residents. Since the NFL considers any day of game tax revenue to belong to the team, it appears that the City will not see any revenue benefit from the games being played here. Perhaps the City should demand that team offices and practice facilities be moved inside the municipal boundaries so we can at least get some revenue from the earnings tax. (As it now stands, I believe that the earnings tax is only assessed for the time the players are performing inside the municipal boundaries, i.e., 10 days of earnings out of 365 days a year. )

          • John R

            Right. The way I understand it. we (the City) currently are getting back about $4.2 million in direct taxes generated from the Rams activity at the Dome, including a small earnings tax amount. But under the scheme for the riverfront stadium, it appears we would continue to pay out $6 million but have to give up a good portion of the revenue received from the events. (The percentage seems to be under negotiation still.)

            If the County remained in the financing picture, we wouldn’t be facing the possible loss of millions in annual revenue.

          • That’s what I’ve been saying all along!

            I did some legwork on it back in May and posted to urbanstl (link below). If I understand the concept and numbers correctly, by having team HQ/operations located in the City, the revenue add of earnings tax for players alone approaches $1 million annually.

            Here’s my full post:

            Doing some light research, I’ve seen a couple mentions of NFL “duty days” — i.e. days for which players are considered to be working — set at 210 (and as low as 120). Based on that 210 number a player whose salary is, say, $2 million per year (average NFL salary) makes about $9,523/duty day. Right now, with Rams LLC located in Earth City, that player would only pay into the 1% earnings tax pool for ten of those 210 duty days (eight games, two preseason games). So, 0.01 ($9,523 x 10) = $952.30 in St. Louis city earnings tax.

            If the team is headquartered in the City though, instead of paying the earnings tax for only ten days a year, the players and staff suddenly pay in for two hundred duty days. Using the $2 million salary from before, 0.01 ($9523 x 200) = $19,046 in St. Louis city earnings tax.

            Run that out through the full payroll — 2013-14 combined players’ salary for Rams was $109,300,000 — and the value of keeping the team (and requiring it locate operations/HQ in the city) suddenly becomes incredibly apparent…$52,047 for ten duty days or$1,040,952 for two hundred.

            [Note: I’m really not sure how NFL players/staff are actually taxed in relation to standard “salary” formula and duty days. If you take the standard 260-day formula, then the daily player payroll for the 2013-14 Rams was $420,384 (using $109,000,000/260), meaning the earnings tax received for 200 duty days would be around $840,768 (or, $420,384 x 200 x 0.01). Professional sports, man…]

            Link: http://urbanstl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=10523&start=1935

      • Honestly, I’m all for it. For too long and on too many issues, St. Louis City has required the approval (and funding) of Countians before doing anything (see: smoking ban, minimum wage, Arch project, Zoo-Museum district, etc.).

        Sure, Countians get the benefits of a team without the cost, but so what?! If St. Louis wants to retain (or regain, depending who you talk to) its status as regional center, then it has to stand on its own two feet and do things for itself, by itself. Otherwise is it really even worth supporting?

        It’s easy enough to implement a special tax for purchases made outside the City limit. Or a rebate for those who live within. I was just at the Adler Planetarium yesterday, for instance, and by virtue of my proof of residency in the City of Chicago, I and my wife each received around 15% off our entrance/theater fee — about $25.50 per person rather than $30 per… 🙂

  • RJ

    Unfortunately the NFL has put a time frame on this issue and if a vote is required it becomes Times Up. This will give the NFL the leverage they need to allow the Rams to leave. In other words we make the decision easy for them if a vote is required. I think the consensus from most of us would be to allow a vote because I think it would pass but given this short time frame it cannot be done and at this point it is up to the elected officials to make that decision for the voters. Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions and there is a lot at stake such as keeping an NFL team and development of the North Riverfront.

    • JZ71

      Can you say blackmail?

    • Daniel S. Leritz

      Agreed. No matter whether or not a public vote takes place in St. Louis, the NFL owners will vote in January 2016. This has generally been understood throughout this process, i.e. since January 2015, that the NFL will vote at the Owners’ Meeting at the beginning of next year. There is simply not enough time left for St. Louis to hold a special election.

    • John R

      There should have been public votes in 11 days but Peacock and Nixon didn’t want that. Instead, they complicated things by cutting out the County from the funding participation and are struggling to come up with a way to recoup that loss. If they had a solid plan in on the timeline they set — which was many weeks ago — we wouldn’t be in this mess of an increasingly frustrated BoA and public.

  • Rob

    Agree with the comments that you are elected by your constituents to to govern. so do so. The people already voted…for you. Just do your job.

  • Brock Landers

    When IKEA (Worth Billions) asked for $27M in tax financing help, the people of St.Louis didn’t vote. The alder-manic council voted. Do your jobs. Do the research. If it’s good for the city, vote yes. If it stinks, vote no. If you can’t do that, give up your seat.

    • John R

      Did we city citizens vote for a public vote for TIF projects? We did for new stadia so I applaud the ordinance. In practical terms, though, if the board bill that stadium backers eventually present is a clear win for city taxpayers it should pass rather easily,

    • JZ71

      $27,000,000 versus $400,000,000 – $1,000,000,000 – it’ a matter of degree – 15 to 40 times as much taxpayer “support”, for a single project . . .

      • David

        City tax payer cost is $150m of $1b. Heck the McKee tif was 2.5 times as much as this and no vote

        • Alex Ihnen

          TIF does not function in the same way as tax funding for a stadium. If the proposal were for a TIF that didn’t require city backing, this would be rather easy.

  • DavidJ

    It’s a bit premature for Green’s bill without knowing of what is being asked of the city. If it’s the current $6m + gameday event taxes paid by gameday attendees. I don’t want to vote for that, we pay you $36,000 a year to make that kind of vote. So make it. I don’t care if it’s yes or no

  • Andy Crossett

    Agree with David. We have a representative government. If you are opposed, go ahead and oppose the deal. If you’re for it, then vote for it. And yes, you have right to understand whats in the agreement and the full costs / risks associated with the deal. So that’s all good. Without that, then its hard to make the right choice.

  • DavidJ

    But in this case it is. Earliest chance at a vote is March 2016. 3 months after nfl makes its decision of LA relocation. This is a perfect example of doing a job your were elected to do. Make tough votes. Will of stl ppl? Of those who voted for 2002 unconstitutional ord how many are alive and how many still leave here. Did you support the will of the Californian people when they banned gay marriage? Of course not. We have a chance to get a large private and state investment for our 15%. I trust you and my aldermen to make the correct vote next week and quit trying to kick the can.

    • I agree with Cara.

      “Did you support the will of the Californian people when they banned gay marriage?”

      Comparing a civil rights issue to building an entertainment venue is ridiculous.

      “Of those who voted for 2002 unconstitutional ord how many are alive and how many still leave here.”

      Give me a break. It’s only 13 years—not too different from the lifetime of a St. Louis football stadium! Also, how exactly was the ordinance “unconstitutional”? That’s not what the judge ruled.

      • DavidJ

        There is nothing to vote for. There won’t be a vote in March 2016 since the nfl will make its decision by Jan 2016. So it’s really moot. All it would do is kill any chance for a $1b north riverfront development that’s paid with $610m in private $ and $240 in state $

        • I still agree with Cara.

          “There is nothing to vote for.”

          No, there’s still something to vote for. That the voting timeline and the NFL decision timeline are at odds doesn’t change that.

          You also didn’t answer my question.

          • DavidJ

            Your first comment didn’t include a question. And again there will be nothing to vote for in March 2016. NFL decision will be made by end of this year. But again this is all moot. This bill has 9 yes votes and 19 no votes.

          • Still agree.

            You said:

            “Of those who voted for 2002 unconstitutional ord how many are alive and how many still leave here.”

            And I asked:

            “Also, how exactly was the ordinance ‘unconstitutional’? That’s not what the judge ruled.”

            Read it again.

            I also find it amusing that you encourage Cara to “make tough votes” yet if Peacock and co. have their way there won’t be anything for the BOA to vote on. So it seems your reprimand of Alderman Spencer is moot as well.

          • Danrarbc

            No, there isn’t anything to vote for. The stadium isn’t being built without a team commitment. Thus if the team is already approved to move to LA there is no stadium to vote for.

    • John R

      There won’t be a Board of Aldermen vote next week…. maybe by the end of November if things move quickly. A Board Bill may be introduced next Friday but then it will go through the committee process and hearing(s). Ironically, the Peacock team could have enjoyed the express will of the people behind it on November 3rd if only they would have committed to public votes back in March instead of cutting the County out.

      Having the public firmly behind it with yes votes would have been the strongest position of all to be in and clearly made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the NFL to allow Kroenke to move the Rams to LA. But Peacock and Nixon chose not to take that path.