County Council Approves $45M Loan for Cardinals
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis County Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday night to a $45 million financing deal for a new Cardinals Stadium downtown.
The money is technically a loan; the Cardinals will have 30 years to repay it.
County Executive Charlie Dooley says the loan will burden county taxpayers because it will come from the hotel-motel tax.
"If you do not use the hotels in this area, you will not be paying that tax," Dooley said Tuesday night. "So actually, it's the tourism that pays the tax, not the people who live here. But we benefit from that tax."
Opponents to the measure say the plan amounts to corporate welfare, and the repayment period is too long.
Cardinals officials plan to break ground on the stadium this month, after all private financing is secured.
Before the vote, stadium opponent and self-described libertarian Eric Harris said the matter should be put to a countywide vote.
"If this piece of corporate welfare passes as written, without a referendum, I can promise each and every member of this council who fails to vote against it, and the county executive, will see this made a campaign issue."