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Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis tax payers get to vote on funding a new NFL stadium?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The subject of today’s poll may ultimately be decided by a court, from April:

The public body that owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome filed suit Friday against the city of St. Louis. They are trying to avoid a public vote on the use of taxpayer money for a new downtown football stadium. The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority would ultimately be responsible for building the proposed stadium on the riverfront. The RSA is suing St. Louis city claiming the city ordinance requiring a citywide vote before public funds are spent on a stadium is, “Overly broad, vague and ambiguous.” The city says the ordinance is legal. (Fox 2)

The lawsuit makes sense, the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority wants legal clarity:

At the center of the St. Louis lawsuit is a 2002 city ordinance that says a vote is required to decide whether public funds can be used to help pay for a sports venue. (LA Times)

Then last month a third of the aldermen weighed in:

Nine of the city’s 28 aldermen are calling for a public vote on the use of city tax dollars for a new riverfront football stadium — regardless of the outcome of a lawsuit seeking to escape just such an election.

On Friday, Alderman Scott Ogilvie sent a letter signed by him and eight colleagues asking the public board of the Edward Jones Dome to drop its lawsuit against the city and “embrace a conversation with St. Louisans” about the funding of a $985 million downtown arena. (Post-Dispatch)

Ordinance 65609/66509 called for a public referendum, becoming Chapter 3.91 Professional Sports Facility of the city code after approval by voters. City election results aren’t available online before 2005 so I asked Election director Gary Stoff about the results:

“Proposition S appeared on the Nov. 5, 2002 ballot.  The results were 48,872 (55.37%) in favor of the proposition and 34,552 (44.63%) opposed.”

The Post-Dispatch in January:

St. Louis residents passed the ordinance in 2002 by nearly 10 percentage points, 55 percent to 45 percent. St. Louis County voters approved a similar measure in 2004 by even more, 72 percent to 28 percent. (Post-Dispatch)

So there you have it. Today’s poll question asks “Should St. Louis tax payers get to vote on funding a new NFL stadium?” The poll is in the right sidebar (desktop layout) and will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Yes.

    One, if the city is going to make a $400M or a billion dollar investment, in anything, it should be voted on, either direclty, by the citizens, or, indirectly, the Board of Aldermen. The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, “the public body that owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome” is not directly responsible to the voters AND has a big incentive in moving forward:

    “Mission: The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority effectively and efficiently administers the Board’s functions resulting in a well-constructed, financed, and operated domed stadium/convention center.

    “Function: The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority oversees financing, design and construction of the domed stadium/convention center expansion and administers annual Preservation Funding in accordance with state statute, by-laws and bond indentures.” http://boards.mo.gov/userpages/Board.aspx?110

    Two, I get it, convincing voters to either raise taxes or to extend an existing tax is never easy, and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, “the public body that owns and operates the Edward Jones Dome” is under the gun to have a plan in place before the end of the year. What we really need to look at is the ballot language that put this funding source in place, a couple of decades ago. What were the voters promised?

    “Enabling Legislation authorized the Authority to raise funds for land acquisition and construction of the Dome through the issue of Municipal Bonds. The Dome was completed in 1995 on budget and ahead of schedule at a total cost $300 million (bond capital plus interest revenue).” http://www.stlrsa.org/enabling_legislation.html

    Most “bond” issue funding mechanisms are tied to the life of the bond – they go away when the bonds are paid off. Kentucky and Colorado both built toll roads in the 1950’s and 60’s this way, and when the bonds were paid, the tolls went away and the roads are now “free”. This is a lengthy explanation by one legislator who is suing the governor, and I agree with everything that he’s saying (much better than I can):

    “First, the statute that created the mechanism for building stadiums with taxpayer funded bonds prohibits refinancing or extending the bonds in a way that increases the amount of principal or interest owed. Yet, Gov. Nixon’s plan would increase the amount of principle and interest owed by hundreds of millions of dollars.

    “Second, the statute prohibits stadium bonds that have a maturity date in excess of 50 years. The original bonds for the stadium began in 1991. The 50-year period for the stadium bonds expires in 2041. Yet, Gov. Nixon’s plan would extend the bond payments until 2048 at the rate of $12 million per year.

    “Third, the statute requires that any new football stadium must be build ‘adjacent to an existing convention facility.’ The only ‘existing convention facility’ at the time the legislation passed in 1989 was the Cervantes Convention Center. This language did not just magically appear in the bill. It was added by a House committee after hearing testimony that the purpose of the bill was to ”finance the construction of an exhibition center adjacent to the Cervantes Convention Center.”

    http://m.newstribune.com/news/2015/jun/21/perspective-stadium-lawsuit/#.VYa9DlWUzGc

     
  2. gmichaud says:

    While I would like to see the Rams stay the ongoing extortion of the wealthy is beyond belief. Kroenke has a portion of his fortune because American taxpayers support the employees of Wal Mart with food stamps and other assistance.
    America is a sick country, no doubt. It is a country where the poor are accused of causing deficits while the wealthy plunder America (and the world), this stadium is a good example among many.

     
  3. JZ71 says:

    And for everyone who thinks the Raiders would be a good replacement for the Rams: http://www.imfromdenver.com/12-ways-to-laugh-at-the-raiders/

     

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