Governor-elect Eric Greitens

Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens (R) calls a proposed St. Louis professional soccer stadium “backroom wheeling and dealing” and “nothing more than welfare for millionaires”, but Governor Jay Nixon (D) disagrees. Greitens opposes using taxpayer money to fund the project.

“I don’t consider having a public vote, which is required of this, or having a St. Louis Alderman vote which is also public or MDFB vote being public to be a backroom deal. I mean, these are very open,” says Nixon. “I think that preparing those sites is important, getting it straightened out. The state is going to have to do that at some point anyway. The fact that we have a group of folks willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s a good economic development project, whether it’s soccer or not.”

The Missouri Development Finance Board has postponed a vote on a request for $40 million in tax credits for the $200 million stadium plan. The group trying to recruit a team wants to meet with Greitens before the board votes on the proposal.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon

Nixon says the issue has become political.

“I think people that folks have wedged into a site preparation Missouri Development Finance Board thing and tried to politicize that. I think in St. Louis, it’s really important to redevelop downtown and I would hope that this is a site that’s going to have to be cleaned up. I probably going to have to be cleaned up by a MDFB resolution with these exact tools used in the future.”

Last week, the St. Louis Board of Alderman introduced legislation that would ask city voters whether they support $80 million for the stadium.