In a surprising move by Santa Clara County officials, $30 million in tax funds were pulled from the new San Francisco 49ers stadium. The 49ers and city of Santa Clara leaders were caught off-guard by the move because voters had earmarked redevelopment money to help build the $1.2 billion stadium. In 2010, city of Santa Clara voters approved a measure that set aside $40 million in redevelopment funds for the stadium. Because of this, both the 49ers and city leaders say the county has no right to keep the money.
On Friday, a new board that oversees property tax from redevelopment zones in Santa Clara County cancelled $30 million for the stadium in a vote that passed 4-3. County tax collector George Putris explained the boards move by saying, “Let’s be real: That stadium is going to get built whether or not you get this $30 million.” The board would rather spend the money at other public agencies and use it for school districts.
Since the measure was passed in 2010, the state of California has eliminated redevelopment agencies. The new state law gives counties control over handing out property tax revenues from the former redevelopment agencies. By the time the agencies were done away with, Santa Clara’s redevelopment fund had only paid $10 million toward the stadium. The 49ers loaned the remaining $30 million in order to start construction. The 49ers had hoped they’d be paid back from future tax revenues. Santa Clara City Attorney Ren Nosky said the move was not on the agenda which could violate the Brown Act which is the state’s open meeting law. The 49ers and city will likely file a lawsuit to reclaim the money for the stadium.
For the 49ers Faithful who want to see the team stay true to their name and history by staying in San Francisco, it is highly unlikely this will deter or delay construction at the stadium. $30 million is only about three percent of the $1.2 billion price tag for the stadium, so I doubt this will affect anything. The 49ers will likely just absorb the cost if the funds cannot be reclaimed. The new stadium in Santa Clara is expected to open in 2014.