In a recent post on his site, Missouri State Senator Ryan Silvey filed legislation questioning the authority of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to issue bonds in support of a proposed St. Louis stadium without a public vote.
Randy Karraker felt compelled to respond to Senator Silvey’s announcement via the following letter, which he sent to the senator’s office.
Your name was brought to my attention by a listener who suggested I check your web page. I read with interest your essay about the recent bill you proposed in regards to re-issuing bonds, and thought I’d help you out with some errors in your essay, and ask some questions in the process.
1) You wrote ” It began earlier this year when the St. Louis Rams organization announced its intention of leaving the city after the 2015-2016 season unless a new stadium was built. The Governor hastily put together a $1 billion proposal to construct a state-of-the art sports complex.”
In fact, the Rams have not announced their intention to leave, and have never asked for a stadium. In an effort to prevent a state asset from walking out the door, Governor Nixon named David Peacock and Robert Blitz, who had been working on stadium plans for over a year, to front the task force.
As you might note from the latest Peter King missive from TheMMQB , the plans in place are not plans that are put together in two or three months. This was not a hasty decision by Governor Nixon. It is, in fact, a well thought out and planned, long time project by two advocates of the state of Missouri and the St. Louis region.
2) I’ve asked the state’s Attorney General to examine the law and determine if the Governor truly has the legal authority to issue public bonds without any legislative or voter approval. In the meantime, it is imperative we stop this proposal in its tracks. If not, we could see future administrations attempt to hijack funding authority from the people and their elected officials, creating a very slippery slope.
Question; why are you there? Don’t we elect officials to make these decisions for us? And where does your idea stop? If we’re all going to vote on each and every state expenditure, do we really need elected officials in Jefferson City? If we do as you propose, shouldn’t the people simply vote on every expenditure?
3) If this plan moves forward, we’d be allowing one individual to unilaterally put Missouri millions of dollars into debt.
In fact, the Rams provide a net financial BENEFIT for the state. While the state doesn’t realize any financial gain from building roads or parks (which I use and are necessary), the Rams, Chiefs, Royals, Cardinals and Blues and their opponents who play in Missouri all provide tax BENEFITS for the state. In fact, extending the bonds currently being used for America’s Center would be more beneficial for the state’s coffers than NOT extending them. The state expenditure is $12 million a year, and the overall income from player taxes, team employee taxes, visitors to the city on game weekends and taxes generated on game days exceed that number.
I appreciate your efforts in working in Missouri government and trying to advance the cause of the state. However, I don’t believe letting a pro sports franchise out the door does advance the cause of the state. And if you’re going to propose bills in the Senate, I would assume you would want to do so with some factual background, which I’m more than happy to help out with.
Feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments.
The Fast Lane, 101 ESPN