If voters approve a new economic development Sales Tax on
April 4, it will trigger a correlating increase in the Use Tax, which is primarily
paid by businesses buying goods outside the state of Missouri. On the same ballot as the Sales Tax, voters
will be asked whether the City should use the projected $4 million in new use
tax revenue to complement a multi-million dollar private investment to build a
stadium that would be home for a Major League Soccer team.
To be clear -- because this is important -- raising the
Sales Tax automatically raises the Use Tax. That’s already the law.
What the stadium funding question asks voters is -- do you
want to use these new Use Tax revenues to help fund a soccer stadium? Unless
the Sales Tax passes, the outcome of the vote on the stadium funding is
irrelevant: no new Sales Tax means no new Use Tax.
If the stadium funding vote fails but the Sales Tax passes,
the new Use Tax revenue will be used for other purposes.
If the stadium funding vote passes AND the Sales Tax passes,
the new Use Tax revenue will help pay for the new stadium.
With input from the Board of Aldermen and the public, there
is now a financing structure for a new stadium that insulates the City’s general
fund from risk. Most of the project is paid for privately. The SC STL team has
committed to paying for any cost overruns, and agreed to sign a 30-year lease
with a no-relocation clause.
Aside from generating tax revenues, the new multi-use
stadium will help redevelop a large tract of land, and create a sports and entertainment
corridor south of Market Street, with Busch Stadium, the Scottrade Center, and
a soccer stadium.
I support this project, but voters must, too, in order for
it to move forward.