St. Louis voters will weigh in on funding for a proposed MLS stadium, as a judge has placed the initiative on an April ballot.
Last week, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen authorized the use of $60 million in city funds for a downtown stadium, while signing off on a related proposal for a MetroLink expansion. That was a step that needed to be complete in order to subject the projects to a voter referendum, but the vote came after the deadline for the Board of Aldermen to directly place the measures on the ballot. That meant that a circuit court judge had to sign off on the referendums.
On Thursday, the circuit court weighed in, granting permission for the measures to be considered by voters. More from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Judge Michael Mullen on Thursday also ordered a related ballot proposition, a half-cent sales tax increase to fund MetroLink expansion, to appear on the April 4 ballot with the MLS proposal.
Soccer stadium supporters need both measures to be approved by city voters, because the MetroLink sales tax increase would trigger a corresponding increase in the city’s business use tax on out-of-state purchases. The new revenue from that increase would fund most of the city’s $60 million commitment to stadium funding.
The Board of Aldermen failed to approve the ballot language for both proposals before the 10-week statutory cutoff before elections, requiring the court’s intervention to proceed. Aldermen had defeated the stadium proposal before passing it Feb. 3 with significant changes.
Expect MLS backers to wage a significant campaign to obtain voter approval. SC STL has already submitted its expansion application to the MLS, but having the project clear a referendum would represent a significant step. The project will require a simple majority to move forward.
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