Charlotte business leaders continued to show their support for the Carolina Panthers and their request for city and state money to fund renovations to Bank of America Stadium.
According to Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer, a team official said he’s confident that a deal will be reached, although one legislator said the city’s bill won’t pass in its current form.
Currently, the Panthers are asking for $144 million from Charlotte and $62 million from the state to finance stadium upgrades that could cost up to $250 million. City officials are asking local legislators to give the green light on a 1 percent increase on prepared food tax in exchange for the team agreeing to remain in Charlotte for 15 years.
Although the general feeling is that city and state lawmakers are behind the Panthers, some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Bill Brawley of Matthews, question the practicality of the current proposal.
“The proposal that the city of Charlotte has put on the table will not pass the North Carolina House,” Brawley told the Charlotte Observer last week. “That does not mean that the Panthers will not receive support, but it does mean the Charlotte plan they brought to Raleigh is not realistic politically. I believe the speaker and the president pro tem will be able to craft a solution that will meet the needs of the Panthers within the political reality of Raleigh.”
Legislators say $62 million could be difficult to generate in a tight state budget, while some are hesitant to put the rubber stamp on a local tax hike. Nonetheless, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) and Senate President Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a statement on Thursday affirming their commitment to the team.
“Conversations with the Carolina Panthers organization and local and legislative officials are ongoing and productive. The Panthers not only produce thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact, but are a source of pride for the Charlotte region and the entire state. We remain steadfast and committed to keeping the Panthers in North Carolina and will continue to work together to achieve that goal.”
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