Charlotte is up to bat again in Raleigh tomorrow on its other big legislative battle – this one to get approval for a tax hike that would help renovate Bank of America Stadium. Lawmakers balked at the city's initial request to double the local restaurant tax for a period of 30 years. Now the city is offering a compromise.
Doubling the restaurant tax in Mecklenburg County for 30 years would generate about $1 billion . . . which is way more than the $144 million the Panthers have asked Charlotte to kick in. Today City Councilman James Mitchell acknowledged that first request was too broad.
In a letter to the governor and legislative leaders, Mitchell says the city is willing to settle for half of its original tax hike request and end it after 15 years. But Mitchell says that would force the city to "jettison" its hopes for replacing the stadium down the line or building an amateur sports facility – both things the city had planned to do with leftover money from its much larger, initial request.
Even the smaller tax increase may not sit well in Raleigh. Charlotte Representative Ruth Samuelson says Republican legislators are not interested in raising taxes – particularly to benefit a private enterprise like the Panthers.
Samuelson's bill – slated for consideration by the House Government committee tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. – merely gives Charlotte permission to use existing restaurant tax revenues for the stadium. Those funds are currently earmarked exclusively for the convention center.