What lawmakers want to give the Carolina Panthers

Tax incentives for Carolina Panthers

Last week, lawmakers introduced legislation in both the House (H.4243) and the Senate (S.655) to extend tax favors to the Carolina Panthers NFL team in an attempt to lure them to relocate their practice facility and headquarters (not their stadium) to South Carolina. Both bills are being fast-tracked through committee this week.

The identical bills contain three incentives. First, the legislation would amend the jobs tax credit law to make the Panthers eligible to receive the credit. The jobs tax credit can be anywhere from $750-$8,000 per new job created, and is applied annually to the employer’s corporate tax liability for five years following the creation of the job. The proposed legislation would:

  • Add “professional sports teams” to the list of employers eligible for an annual jobs tax credit
  • Amend the definition of “new job” to include all jobs at the sports team park, even those South Carolinians who already worked for the team in another SC location
  • Adds a definition of “full-time” just for the team – 180 days/year with 80% of those days being at the sports team park
  • Define “professional sports team” – annual payroll of at least $190 million and 150 employees

Depending on which county the team locates its practice facility in and how the tax credit is calculated (the credits are capped at 50% of the employer’s corporate tax liability), the team could receive total corporate tax credit of $225,000 to $412,500 per year for five years – all without creating a single new job.

Second, the bills would exempt professional sports teams from county and municipal business license fees and taxes, and lastly, they would protect their property from municipal annexation without prior written consent of the team.

These, however, are only the incentives contained in this specific legislation. The team’s owner is also reportedly discussing infrastructure improvements with state officials. It should also be noted that South Carolina may not receive all of the individual employees’ income taxes, as the players’ income would be earned in other states where their games are played.

This legislation is slated for both subcommittee and full committee consideration in both chambers this week, and could be scheduled for floor debate as early as this Thursday.

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