Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No. 000078 Missouri Legislature's Treatment of St. Louis NFL effort is outrageous and other random thoughts

The following needs to be said about the #STLNFL Stadium, recalling that I am not in the pro-stadium camp.

Alderman Krewson is a refreshing breath of common sense

Foremost, this is about the sunk costs we have in the Edward Jones Dome. Alderman Lyda Krewson makes this point in her excellent FB post. The City faces a continuing obligation to fund the Edward Jones Dome and is looking for the best plan to do that, first

Alderman Krewson also cogently observes there is no means or method to convert stadium dollars into any other project or effort, writing:
I do agree with opponents that we have many many other needs that deserve priority and dollars. Voting down the stadium will not produce any funds to address those issues though. It is not as if the State, NFL and Owner are going to give us the 900 mil to spend on police, poverty, schools etc. If we vote it down, we will still have those issues, plus the payments on the Dome, a 'loss', and fewer jobs.

Senators like Ryan Silvey and Rob Schaaf have been outrageous in their comments and in their treatment of Saint Louis

Here are recent comments of Senators Silvey and Schaaf:

The statements are misleading for they imply the Saint Louis Region has the power to decide to build a stadium but it doesn't. There is no regional government in Saint Louis with authority over either renovating the Edward Jones Dome or building a new #STLNFL stadium. The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) was not created by Saint Louis Region voters and its members have not been selected by Saint Louis Region voters. Rather, the Missouri legislature created the Authority in 1988, refusing to permit direct public participation in its affairs.

Members of the Authority are appointed by the County Executive, the Mayor, and the Governor, serving at the pleasure of their respective appointer.

From the outset residents of St. Charles, Jefferson, and Washington, and Franklin County have been free riding on the regional convention and sports complex. They pay no taxes but may attend all of the events hosted in the Complex. This gives hotels and motels in all four counties a substantial competitive advantage over hotels and motels in either the County or City and is a substantial disincentive to expansion and improvement of the complex.

Worse, the hotel and motel tax is capped at 3.5%. It is tapped out as a source of additional funding for a new stadium.

Last, Silvey and Schaaf consistently misrepresent power of the Authority to build new facilities or improve existing facilities.

For starters, the Authority "is given the right and power to own, operate, develop or improve" "convention centers, sports stadiums, field houses, indoor and outdoor convention, recreational, and entertainment facilities and centers, playing fields, parking facilities and other suitable concessions, and all things incidental or necessary to a complex suitable for all types of convention, entertainment and meeting activities and for all types of sports and recreation, either professional or amateur, commercial or private"

Yes, the original enabling legislation permits building of multiple stadiums or other facilities!

Last, the legislation creating the Authority does not remove for the General Assembly its authority over appropriations. But, not one has suggested otherwise.
Update: The NFL and the Rams have now announced that the Rams have been given approval to move to Los Angeles.

If Jay Nixon were a leader, he would be proposing legislation to fix the RSA, making it into a functional regional organization with the power to do its job. The Edward Jones Dome and Convention center are important regional assets in need of care, attention and nurturing for the competition between cities only intensifies every day. The property were the new stadium was proposed still needs attention.