Updated 03/14/2013 06:58 PM
Lawmakers advance Carolina Panthers assistance proposal
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RALEIGH – State lawmakers have advanced a proposal aimed providing ability for the City of Charlotte to help with the Carolina Panthers stadium renovations.
City leaders have asked for more help, but state leaders are sending a clear message: This smaller step is as far as they are willing to go.
Lawmakers call their proposal a compromise for Charlotte city leaders. The Queen City said it needs extra funds – through taxing – to help fund planned improvements at Bank of America Stadium.
The state said it won't help the city raise new taxes, but will allow it to use current funding currently aimed toward the convention center to be used for the project.
The bill that would allow that shift got its first hearing at the legislature.
Lawmakers argued that this will help the city direct up to some of its current taxes toward stadium improvements, while helping to tether the Panthers organization to the city.
But Wednesday, city leaders sent a letter to legislative leaders asking them to go further than this proposal, saying it won't be enough and they “urgently need an additional half-cent food and beverage tax.”
But legislators that simply isn't something lawmakers will consider.
“Realistically in this economy this is not the year to do an increase in tax,” said Rep. Ruth Samuelson. “Frankly, currently, Charlotte is the beneficiary of more occupancy tax and prepared food tax than any other specialty taxes, than any other municipality in this state.”
This is a bi-partisan bill, but there was also bi-partisan opposition to this bill during the committee meeting.