The Charlotte Observer has some new information on the Carolina Panthers’ plans to remodel Bank of America stadium. The actual study the team has commissioned should be done by the end of the year. But even before that, the spin has begun. And some of it is amazingly stupid.
Let’s start City Council Member James Mitchell, who apparently understands nothing of the basics of negotiations:
Democrat James Mitchell, who chairs the economic development committee, said he supports helping the Panthers financially.
“We have established a model – whether it’s the Bobcats or the Knights – that we will invest or participate in some way,” Mitchell said. “I won’t shy away from that.”
As the UPoR correctly notes, the reality is that state and local governments typically end up footing part of the bill for NFL stadium upgrades. But there’s absolutely no reason for elected officials to commit to picking up part of the tab without seeing and understanding what the Panthers propose to do. It just weakens your position at the bargain table.
Then there’s the timing of it all, which is not too good for city officials. Mayor Anthony Foxx is pushing for a big capital spending plan that would be funded by a substantial property tax increase. Whatever amount the city ends up contributing to the stadium upgrades will come in addition to that, and will result in further tax increases. The uncertainty with the Panthers situation thus is a very good reason to wait with the city’s capital budget planning. Somehow I doubt Foxx sees it that way though…