The state House’s budget committee will hold a public hearing later this month on the governor’s plan to pay for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis.
Chairman Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) opposes the plan to extend the debt on bonds passed in the 1990s to pay for the current stadium.
“You take a 30-plus year old statute and then you just start extending it, and you just start extending it, and you extend those bond payments that were originally for the Edward Jones Dome and now we say, ‘Well, it’s good for this and we can just take it out of here for another 30-years,” said Flanigan of the plan.
“Missouri taxpayers have a stake in what goes on with that stadium, and people can come down and discuss why they’re for or against the use of taxpayer funds on this,” said Flanigan.
Numerous lawmakers have said they would oppose paying the debt on those bonds if they are extended, though the constitution requires state debt be paid. In addition to giving Republicans a chance to showcase the opposition to current stadium plan, the hearing could give supporters a chance to make their case to those lawmakers.
The hearing is November 30. Flanigan hopes to hear from Governor Jay Nixon’s administration that day.
Nixon has defended the extension of the bond debt as not requiring a public vote, and stressing the desire to keep an NFL team in St. Louis, though he acknowledges there have been no guarantees about that.
He also says for lawmakers to not pay the debt on those bonds, if they were extended, would jeopardize Missouri’s credit rating and violate the constitutional mandate that state debt be paid before the state makes any other expenditures.