The Charlotte City Council has given up the fight for permission to raise the local restaurant tax as a way to raise money for Panthers' Stadium upgrades.
Councilman James Mitchell says the measure passed by the state house Wednesday is "the best the city will get." It only gives the city flexibility to use existing restaurant tax revenues for the football stadium.
As a result, Mitchell says the city will probably not be able to give the Panthers the full $144 million the team wants.
"So now it's going to cause all of us to regroup and to be able to provide some upgrades, knowing that we have less funds to use," says Mitchell. "It's going to be more of a challenge for us, so we just have to prioritize and make sure it's something (Panthers owner Jerry) Richardson can be happy with, as well as the city council."
Mitchell estimates the current restaurant tax can provide about $120 million for the Panthers. The team's full stadium renovation plan totals about $300 million and calls for the state to contribute $62.5 million.
Lawmakers and Governor Pat McCrory do not support spending state money on Bank of America stadium. Mitchell is still hopeful the state Department of Commerce will offer the Panthers economic incentive money. Those credits are based on the number of new jobs a company creates. One-time construction projects typically don't qualify.
Mitchell says the city will wait until the measure passes the State Senate before sitting down to renegotiate a deal with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
Note: Click here to see a written exchange between Governor Pat McCrory and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson regarding the team's quest for state and local money to renovate Bank of America Stadium.