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Board approves first tax breaks for new St. Louis stadium

Stadium task force co-chair Dave Peacock presents revised stadium plan to the Missouri Development Finance Board. The stadium project is asking for $15 million in tax breaks this year and plans to ask for $17.5 million each in 2016 and 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with vote - The Missouri Development Finance Board Tuesday approved tax breaks to help fund a proposed new NFL stadium in St. Louis. This vote was for $15 million out of what's expected to be a total of $50 million in credits.

It's part of a revised stadium proposal that would cost $998 million, including $820 million for sight clearance and construction.

"Today, the MDFB approved $15 million in CY 2015 contribution tax credits to help the RGA leverage $30 million in contributions," said Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Amy Susan in an e-mail to St. Louis Public Radio. "The state must first receive $30 million in contributions before it can issue $15 million in tax credits. The issuance of these credits and any subsequent credits is fully conditional upon the following: all other funds for the construction of the project are available for disbursement; the applicant shall have executed a lease agreement with a NFL team of a term not less than 30 years."

Dave Peacock, the co-chairman of task force angling to build a new St. Louis stadium, said in a statement that "the benefits of a new NFL stadium in downtown St. Louis are clear, not only to our metropolitan region but the entire state of Missouri as well."  

"We appreciate the board’s support as we continue to make meaningful and measurable progress toward keeping the St. Louis Rams here in St. Louis," Peacock said.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was the only MDFB member to vote against the proposal.

“This proposal is moving forward without a single vote by a public body accountable to voters: Not the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, not the St. Louis County Council, not the Missouri General Assembly,” Kinder said in a statement. “With today’s MDFB vote, I am the sole person running for office in the state who will be held accountable to the people of the state on this proposal.”

Kinder's statement noted that "the new stadium proposal with the plan in the early 1990s that culminated in the construction of St. Louis’ current NFL stadium, the Edward Jones Dome."

“That proposal was debated and passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor,” Kinder said. “All those lawmakers then stood for election having to defend their vote to the people of their districts. But now, without voters’ or their representatives’ consent, the governor is claiming the power to bind future legislators to finance this debt for the next 30 years.”

Rams owner Stan Kroenke signaled his intent to move the team back to Los Angeles when he unveiled a proposal this year to build a stadium 12 miles from downtown LA in Inglewood. Meanwhile, a circuit judge in St. Louis this month struck down a local ordinance that required a public vote on the use of tax dollars for a new stadium.

Original article, July 21 - The Missouri Development Finance Board is mulling over a revised plan to build a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.

The new plan would use $50 million in tax credits, spread out over three years. The task force appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon presented the revised plan before the state finance board Tuesday. Co-chair Dave Peacock says they hope to have approval before NFL owners meet this fall.

"I would think they'll make a decision on Los Angeles in late (2015) or very early next year, which obviously impacts St. Louis," Peacock said, "so we've known all along that we need to kind of get this organized and get questions answered by the fall."

There will actually be three requests. The first is for $15 million in incentives this year, $17.5 million in 2016, and another $17.5 million in 2017. The state finance board is expected to decide on the first request in August or September.

Bond extensions also remain part of the plan, as $135 million would come from the state and $66 million from St. Louis city. St. Louis County was removed from the bond extension plan in March.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who sits on the board, expressed concern about Nixon's position that he can extend the bond payments on the St. Louis Ram's existing stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, and whether that position could render the tax credit request moot.

"I assume if the bond payment plan that the governor is backing here, committing Missouri taxpayers for another three decades, is not approved, then these credits would lapse, would not (be) issued," Kinder said.

He added that he hasn't decided yet how he'll vote on the tax break request.

"It's still something for us to have in the back of our minds as we consider whether we vote in a month or so on this proposal for these credits," Kinder said. "It's a real live issue."

Several other board members liked what they heard. Kelley Martin of Kansas City's take: "You've got a good little project here."

The revised plan for the proposed stadium contains a $998 million price tag, $820 million of which would be spent on construction and sight clearance.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke in January announced plans for an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, which some saw as a signal that he wants to move the team back to southern California. The team originally known as the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946, playing in the LA Coliseum. In 1980, the team moved to a new stadium in Orange County, but retained the name "Los Angeles Rams."

Former Rams owner, the late Georgia Frontiere, moved the team to St. Louis after the 1994 season. Almost simultaneously, the late Al Davis moved his Raiders team from Los Angeles back to their original hometown of Oakland, Calif., leaving the second largest TV market in the U.S. without an NFL franchise.

Meanwhile, current Raiders owner Mark Davis and San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos have proposed building a joint stadium project in Carson, about 17 miles south of downtown L.A.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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