Courtesy of HOK
A bill that would have asked city voters whether tax revenue should be used to fund an MLS stadium west of Union Station is no longer moving forward.
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, who sponsored the legislation, announced today in a Ways and Means Committee meeting that the bill would not appear on the April ballot. Although she wrote on Twitter that the bill's removal "doesn't rule out a future for MLS in the city."
A separate bill asking voters if the city's sales tax should be raised 0.5 percent could still be on the April ballot. If passed, this bill will increase the city's use tax, which is paid by businesses. The MLS public funding bill would have asked voters if a portion of the proceeds from the use tax increase should go toward a $200 million stadium.
SC STL, the ownership group advocating for an MLS franchise in St. Louis, had requested $80 million in public funding, as well as $40 million in state tax credits—which Gov. Eric Greitens has publicly opposed. In December, Jim Kavanaugh, vice chairman of SC STL, told reporters via a conference call that if public funding was not secured, it was "highly probable" that an MLS franchise would not come to St. Louis.
Jim Woodcock, a spokesman for SC STL, told SLM via email that the group met with Ingrassia last Friday for almost two hours. He said they followed up with her over the weekend and yesterday, but never received a response.
"Until we hear from her directly, it's hard to respond to statements made in the media," Woodcock wrote.
Updated, 1/10, 3 p.m.: Ingrassia says she did touch base with Dave Sweeney, a lawyer with the ownership group, before the hearing this morning. She says reasons for halting the bill included lack of a detailed financial proposal to support.
"Still problematic is the fact that we're not sure if the state is on board," Ingrassia says, adding that she's "committed to having discussions moving forward."