Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Greitens: 'I Have Completely Ruled out State Funding for Stadiums'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Greitens: 'I Have Completely Ruled out State Funding for Stadiums'

Article excerpt

Major League Soccer investors trying to bring a team to St. Louis probably won't get $40 million in tax credits or any state money, based on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens' comments Monday.

"To be very clear, I have completely ruled out state funding for stadiums," Greitens said Monday in Dellwood.

Hours later, the St. Louis alderman sponsoring the ballot proposal for up to $80 million in city funding for a St. Louis MLS team called the proposal's future doubtful.

"I was hoping to get to the point where this proposal made sense for St. Louis, but I'm feeling that less and less," 6th Ward Alderman Christine Ingrassia said by phone.

And the mayor's office said Monday that getting a stadium built would be difficult without the state.

"We've remained committed to working with SC STL to develop a financing plan that makes sense for the city of St. Louis and includes a vote of the people," Mayor's Chief of Staff Mary Ellen Ponder said in an email. "Having said that, the state of Missouri and Gov.-elect Greitens are critical. It will be tough to get this done without the state's support."

Greitens reiterated his description of state aid for stadiums as "welfare for millionaires" but said he "looks forward to meeting with the leaders of the MLS project to see if there's a way for them to bring private-sector funding to bring a soccer team to the state of Missouri."

"We are not going to use money from the people of the state of Missouri for what I believe is corporate welfare," Greitens said. "We've got far too many core priorities of government that have to be invested in."

The state Development Finance Board, made up mostly of appointees by outgoing Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, was set to approve the tax credits Dec. 20 when Greitens, a Republican, announced his opposition one day before the meeting. Investors asked that the proposal be pulled from the agenda so they could meet with Greitens and win his support, but that appears as unlikely as ever.

Jim Kavanaugh, St. Louis MLS investor group SC STL vice chairman, said Monday that Greitens' comments were "disappointing considering he doesn't understand our business proposal and potential ROI [return on investment] for the state. …

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