St. Louis County taxpayers will not be asked to help pay for a new NFL stadium on the downtown riverfront.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that last week, a senior aide to Gov. Jay Nixon told County Executive Steve Stenger’s office that ”St. Louis County’s participation would not be necessary in the stadium deal.” Stenger had previously said that he would not support county tax funds being used to help build the stadium without a public vote.
Without county taxes, the $985 million stadium is stripped of $6 million per year. Nixon’s office did not talk about how stadium planners would make up the difference.
Financing for the new arena has been challenging because of a law that requires separate public votes in St. Louis and St. Louis County before taxpayer money can be used to build a stadium.
Jim Shrewsbury, the Nixon-appointed chairman of the Edward Jones Dome Authority, said the move by Nixon may be part of the plan to convince NFL owners to keep the St. Louis Rams in the city. Shrewsbury said the uncertainty of a public election is worse than losing $6 million a year from the county.
”One of the issues that needs to be resolved is the financing,” Shrewsbury said. ”The quicker that’s done, the better chance we have of prevailing in this matter. And if there’s some doubt as to whether or not the county can participate, it’s better to move without them.
An NFL owners committee has been having discussions about moving a team to Los Angeles. The Rams, along with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, are front-runners to be chosen by NFL owners for the move. But at the annual NFL’s annual owners meeting last week in Phoenix, several key owners insisted that they would protect local markets from losing their teams if those markets could present their own stadium proposals with concrete financing plans.
In January, Nixon and a two-member taskforce presented plans for the open-air stadium two weeks after Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced that he would build a $1.86 billion stadium on the old Hollywood Park racetrack. Nixon’s proposed new stadium would replace the Rams’ current home at the Edwards Jones Dome.