YORK COUNTY, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Carolina Panthers players and Coach Ron Rivera were making plays off the field on Thursday, lobbying lawmakers to approve a bill for incentives to move the team's headquarters and practice facility to Rock Hill.
The bill was speeding through the State House, but has now stalled. Senator Dick Harpootlian says he wants more accurate information on how much economic impact the Panthers could bring.
Among the issues outlined in Harpootlian's letter to Governor McMaster is a promise by the governor’s office for 5,715 new jobs.
The governor's office also estimates a more than $3.5 billion economic impact. Harpootlian says that number is overestimated by more than $2.5 billion. The numbers from the Senator were calculated by an independent economist.
But the uncertainty is not stopping Panthers Coach Ron Rivera from stopping by the South Carolina State House to lobby lawmakers.
A potential move of the Panthers practice facility and headquarters to the Palmetto State would mean some upfront costs. Harpootlian says nearly $40 million would be spent on a new interchange on I-77 if the facilities moved to York County.
Governor McMaster compared a Panthers move to the success of the Dallas Cowboys facility in Texas, but Senator Harpootlian says a more accurate comparison would be the Redskins training camp move to Richmond, VA.
An audit showed the city paid $10 million for a new field there, but revenues fell short and the audit showed the city had to make more than $1 million in unexpected cash payments to the team.
Harpootlian says he's not against the Panthers coming to South Carolina-- in fact, he says he's a fan of the idea, but he's worried about how much public money will be spent on the project.