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Stadium bill passes Senate

May 07, 2002
By: Robert Sandler
State Capital Bureau
Links: SB 1279

Sponsor: Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau
Description: stadiums and economic development
Current Status: passed Senate
Next Step: to House committee

JEFFERSON CITY - The $644 million economic development bill that would build a new baseball stadium in St. Louis, rehab stadiums as part of a cultural district in Kansas City and build convention centers in Springfield and Branson received final approval from the Senate Tuesday.

"You watch what would happen in this state... when the (St. Louis) Cardinals move to Illinois," said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau and sponsor of the bill. Before the final vote, Kinder said, "People who you think are with you will be forming a lynch mob saying, `Who allowed this to happen?'"

Kinder said the Cardinals' presence in downtown St. Louis adds hundreds of millions of dollars a year to state tax coffers. But opponents don't think the issue is that simple.

Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla, said she thought the state should be spending its money on other priorities.

"Parents are facing tuition increases, nursing homes may be closing because they can't get the funds they need, and mental health people can't get the services they need, and you could go on and on," she said.

Here's how the bill breaks down:

* $210 million over 30 years toward a new baseball stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals

* $298 million over 30 years for a bistate cultural district in Kansas City that could include money to refurbish the baseball and football stadiums there

* $3 million a year indefinitely for fixing up Savvis Center arena in St. Louis

* $18 million over 23 years for a new exposition center in Springfield

* $32 million over 23 years for a new convention center and arena in Branson

* creation of a new University of Missouri research park in Jackson County

* capping the state's historic building redevelopment tax credit program at $60 million a year beginning in 2006.

The final vote was 19-14, with Columbia Sen. Ken Jacob voting in favor of the plan.

In other legislative news Tuesday:

* A House committee approved the controversial mortgaging of the state's tobacco settlement. The plan now goes before the full House;

* The Senate gave final approval to borrowing $120 million from the state's Budget Reserve Fund to plug holes in the current budget. The plan moves next to the House, where Speaker Jim Kreider, a Democrat, said he supports it, but Republican leader Catherine Hanaway said she will oppose it; and

* A House-Senate conference committee deadlocked on funding for the state public education formula. The committee must decide and both the full House and Senate must finish the budget by Friday.