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Your View 3/29

Friday, March 29, 2002

If a business wanted to invest millions of dollars to expand its operations in Missouri, generate more than a billion dollars in new economic activity and create 7,000 new jobs without any net cost to taxpayers, the state's cooperation would be a given. Yet this is exactly what the St. Louis Cardinals would do with their new ballpark proposal and it's the center of a political battle royal shaping up in Jefferson City. It will be a big loss to Missouri taxpayers if the proposal doesn't survive its trip through the General Assembly.

No corporation ever offered Missouri a deal that gave more to the state or asked less. The Cards aren't asking for a subsidy, just a loan from the state to cover one-third of the construction costs for the new ballpark. The team is paying for the other two-thirds, as well as any cost overruns and they would finance maintenance and operation of the new park. The money lent by the state would be paid directly from tax revenue generated at the new ballpark and the Ballpark Village commercial center. No statewide taxes are required.

The real goodies for the state kick-in-after the park is built. Between the ballpark and Ballpark Village, we'll have a welcome and permanent new stream of tax revenue combined with $1 billion in new economic activity and 7,000 new jobs. If a Fortune 500 corporation wanted to make an investment like this in Missouri, the state would shower them with tax abatements and other inducements. Wake up General Assembly. The Cardinals are only asking for some cooperation.

Mike Moll, Sikeston