UPDATE: The governor’s office said late Wednesday he did not intend to compare the St. Louis stadium project with the St. Joseph stadium project in terms of their cost. Rather, the office said, the governor was critical of state lawmakers who support projects in their districts but not in others’.
Judge for yourself.
EARLIER: Gov. Jay Nixon pushed back hard Tuesday against opponents of public financing for a new football stadium in St. Louis.
He was particularly aggressive in criticizing a group of lawmakers which has sued to prevent him from committing further taxpayer dollars to a new stadium in the city.
“This is not a serious lawsuit,” Nixon says. “This is a publicity ploy.”
One of the plaintiffs is Sen. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph. In interviews, Nixon said Schaaf did not complain when the state offered tax credits for a St. Joseph-based practice facility for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Those tax credits were worth $25 million. They were approved by the Missouri Development Finance Board — the same board that is expected to provide the new St. Louis stadium project with $15 million — $25 million in credits. (The MDFB recently approved another $300,000 for the St. Joe facility.)
Of course, Nixon isn’t talking about just $25 million in taxpayer money for the St. Louis Rams’ new stadium. He’s proposing, at minimum, $200 million for that project, on top of the $360 million Missouri will have eventually spent on borrowing for the existing Rams stadium.
(To be fair: Missouri provides $5 million annually for upkeep at the Truman Sports Complex and Bartle Hall payments. It gives St. Louis more than twice as much: $12 million a year. That money is scheduled to stop in 2021, but Nixon wants to keep spending it for another quarter-century.
The MDFB gave $50 million in credits for the Truman Complex upgrade and $30 million for the Cardinals’ stadium.)
And he isn’t talking about the same financing mechanism. The MDFB had to approve the St. Joe credits, while the bond extension in St. Louis would be unilateral.
See if the governor mentions any of this during an interview with KMOV in St. Louis: