Charlotte Chamber Bob Morgan Carolina Panthers NC NFL - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Chamber President: State needs Panthers to stay in Charlotte

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Charlotte Chamber announced Friday that they are launching a public campaign to help keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

Chamber President Bob Morgan responded to questions from members of the NC General Assembly this week.

"How many times does a public official have the chance to secure a payroll of $2.8 billion for their state's economy? That's the question now facing members of North Carolina's General Assembly as they consider whether or not and how to participate in the effort to renovate Bank of America Stadium," Morgan said in his remarks.

The Panthers have asked the city and state for about $200 million in public funds to renovate and add upgrades to Bank of America Stadium.

The city of Charlotte has requested that the state legislature approve a one percent increase to the city's prepared food and beverage tax to help pay for the upgrades. That legislation has hardly advanced through one of the two chambers.

"If the State of North Carolina stands to receive nearly $300 million in tax revenues from the Panthers over the next 15 years, that's a solid business decision. Even if it means giving us the right to tax ourselves to keep the team here, we think legislators owe it to the state and the organization to seriously consider it," Morgan said.

Support for the plan eroded when a leaked financial report revealed that despite two losing seasons the Panthers have still taken in million of dollars in profits.

A statewide poll showed that nearly 88 percent of people polled said the Panthers should pay for the renovations with their own money.

"In Buffalo, a major renovation deal was just struck that includes the team putting up $35 million, the county $41 million and the state $54 million, all in return for a tether of only 10 years," Morgan said. "Buffalo and Atlanta have fought for their franchises. North Carolina needs to consider a deal and fight for its franchise as well."

Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchell, Panthers President Danny Morrison, Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble and City Attorney Bob Hageman were on a conference call with members of the Mecklenburg County legislative delegation Friday making a last ditch effort to try and get money approved for the Panthers' upgrades.

Legislative members said the money was just not there in the current political climate.

The rest of the call was spent trying to see if any grants could be won from the NC Department of Commerce to make up the rest of the requested money.

The Panthers are trying to secure the funding to begin the upgrades in January of 2014.

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