(November 24, 2015)—City of St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones joins state legislators and local elected officials to oppose the current stadium proposal in the City of St. Louis. “The stadium proposal will negatively impact the city’s credit rating,” says Treasurer Jones. “The proposal requires the city to spend more money than it will receive in tax revenue.” The city’s credit rating was recently downgraded for the first time in 20 years and faces additional risks because the earnings tax, which provides one-third of the city’s budget, will be brought to a public vote this April. The city’s credit rating is at risk with ANY new unfunded debt we assume. To tell the Ways and Means Committee that the city’s credit rating is ‘guaranteed’ is a farce.
As important, the citizens who will be stuck with the bill were denied the opportunity to exercise their right to vote on the proposal. Per the city’s ordinance, my constituents were set to vote on the proposed stadium, but that right was ignored by the Regional Sports Authority when the NFL requested that we “hurry up.” If a new stadium is a true regional project, then the proposal should be brought to a vote in all of the counties in the region (which is where the majority of the fans come from) and share the financial burden for the stadium, not just the city.
Lastly, it is time for the city to re-examine its priorities. “St. Louis has ninety-nine problems and financing the construction of a new stadium is not one,” says Treasurer Jones. There is a laundry list of problems facing the City of St. Louis, including, the 40% of our children living in poverty, a stagnant unemployment rate that is averaging 20.5% among blacks, and the most recent state disparity study showing that despite the 22% capacity among minority owned companies to perform city contractual work, the city only awarded 6% of the work to these businesses.
Our tax dollars would be better spent investing in the real problems in our region, not in billionaires.