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First it was bailouts for Wall Street.  And then taxpayer cash for Fannie, Freddie, and AIG. Then the bailouts for “automakers” (which was really code for public $ for Obama’s Union cronies.) Then the failed “stimulus” package (more taxpayer $ to Obama’s special interest cronies). Then a complete cave-in by Republicans on the fiscal cliff, with taxes going up for everyone because of Obamacare and Social Security, with absolutely no spending cuts. Locally, property taxes jumped for many residents and lest we forget, taxes that increased because of train madness.

But apparently that’s not enough.  When it comes to government picking your pockets for the benefit of billionaires, it’s never enough.

Now Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers want whatever you’ve got left, and they’re going to use state government to get it!

Bank of America Stadium was built in 1996.  It’s less than 20 years old, and Jerry Richardson and the Panthers own it completely.  But if Jerry has his way, the NC General Assembly will give him $62.5 million taxpayer dollars to renovate his stadium.

Not loan.  GIVE.  As in steal from you via a tax and give it to a wealthy billionaire.

You see, Jerry Richardson has a long wish list.  He wants $28 million in new escalators. $59 million in new video and ribbon boards, along with a new sound system.  $62 million for new seats, and $25 million in “technology upgrades.” And he wants you to pay for it.  Why?  Well, as he puts it, “They’re so coveted (NFL franchises). They (owners) don’t have to pay for them. There are only 32 (franchises). That’s the reality.”

Right now you might be thinking, “Wait, that’s more than the $62.5 million he’s asking from the state.”

It is.  That’s why Jerry Richardson and the Panthers also want the City of Charlotte to jack up their taxes.  He’s pressuring the NC General Assembly to pass a bill giving the Democrat-controlled Charlotte City Council (which thinks this is all a terrific idea, no surprise there) permission to increase Charlotte’s prepared food and beverage tax–so the city can give Jerry another $144 million.

In his Tea Party response to the State of the Union address, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said, “What America needs is not Robin Hood, but Adam Smith.”

I agree, but this isn’t even robbing the rich to give to the poor.  Jerry Richardson (whose net worth is somewhere around $500 million) wants to rob from everyone to spend on himself.

This has to be stopped.  Corporate welfare is the worst kind of welfare.  The Charlotte City Council has already eagerly agreed to this massive highway robbery, but they still need the state’s permission to jack their food taxes through the roof.  Unfortunately, Republican leaders in Raleigh are trying to duck the issue.

When asked about this giveaway, Rep. Bill Brawley (bill.brawley@ncleg.net) said, “There will be a referendum.”

Translation: “I don’t want to make a decision, so I’ll punt it to voters.”

None of this is acceptable.  What’s needed is for state leaders in Raleigh to stand up to this shakedown attempt and refuse to give state money to the Panthers, and also refuse permission for Charlotte Democrats to rob Charlotte taxpayers.

Right now, today, look up your NC Senator and NC House Representative’s contact information here and send this message:

Dear Sir (or Madam,)

I have just heard that you are considering giving taxpayer money to Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers to renovate their privately-owned stadium.  This is an outrageous request to pick the pockets of North Carolinians for the benefit of a private organization.

No economic benefits outweigh the importance of protecting the public trust.  Theft is theft, even under color of authority.  It is simply not the role of government to fund professional sports.

I insist that you vote against any funding request to give the Carolina Panthers state money, and I further demand that you vote against any bill giving the City of Charlotte permission to increase their prepared food and beverage tax to benefit the Panthers, or any other professional sports team.

I will be watching this story via updates from North Carolina’s Campaign for Liberty.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)
North Carolina Taxpayer

Please also take a moment to sign Campaign for Liberty’s “NO BAILOUTS FOR SPORTS MILLIONAIRES” petition.  Your signature will send a loud and clear signal to Raleigh that you won’t tolerate having your pockets picked to turn football into another government-subsidized boondoggle.

Finally, please call House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.  Tell them to vote NO on state money for the Panthers and NO to jacking up Charlotte taxes for the Panthers!

Speaker Thom Tillis:
919-733-3451
Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net

Senator Phil Berger:
(919) 733-5708
Phil.Berger@ncleg.net