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A bill that would allow the City of Charlotte to use existing taxes to renovate Bank of America Stadium is continuing to gain the support of lawmakers.
State Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Charlotte) filed the bipartisan bill at the end of February. For months, fans have expressed concern over talk that the Panthers may leave Charlotte if their stadium isn't upgraded.
The team wants over $250 million to make major improvements. City leaders originally voted to raise your food taxes one percent to help pay for the renovations, but the idea was put to rest in Raleigh.
Samuelson's plan calls to take money, allocated for the Charlotte Convention Center and amateur sports, and use it to pay for renovations. That idea doesn't sit well with Charlotte City Councilwoman Claire Fallon.
"You can't take the money from the convention center. They need that money. That place has to be renewed. Why would you take from Peter to pay Paul?," Fallon said.
Fallon suggested lending the team the money with a low interest rate, and asks that it be paid back over 15 years. Samuelson says she wants to save taxpayers money.
"It is new options for the city to consider with spending the revenue they have," Samuelson said.
Samuelson's bill would give the Panthers around $110 million, but spread it out over a longer period of time. She says the city and team could pick and choose what would be renovated first.
"It is bipartisan. We had no trouble getting bipartisan support," she said.
State Representatives Brawley, Earle and Carney worked on the bill as well. Deputy City Manager Ron Kimble said the bill will not provide enough money to renovate the stadium completely. He says the city will need continued talks with lawmakers to provide the funding, and keep the panthers in Charlotte.
Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison said in a statement:
"We have been made aware of the bill that has been filed and are appreciative of the initiatives of both the city and state as they work collaboratively to provide support for these needed improvements at Bank of America Stadium."