Crucial Vote Could Seal The Deal For Panthers To Move HQ & Practice Facility to SC

ROCK HILL, SC. —  A crucial vote is expected Thursday that could seal the deal for the Carolina Panthers to move their practice field and headquarters to Rock Hill.  The South Carolina Senate is one vote away from approving $120 million in tax breaks.

If the South Carolina legislature does not sign off, team owner David Tepper says the practice facility and headquarters will stay in Charlotte. The billionaire businessman had a blunt message for South Carolina lawmakers.

“I could be with a bubble and a cafeteria in Charlotte, too. So it’s up to them,” says Tepper.

The State Senate is struggling to pass a bill that would exempt Panthers players, coaches and employees from state income taxes for 15 years. The team could then spend the roughly $120 million dollars it saves on the complex. Other incentives include a new interchange on I-77.

State Senator Dick Harpootlian has held up the incentives bill. He withdrew his objection Tuesday, but still thinks it’s a bad deal.

“I don’t believe the people of South Carolina support giving hundreds and millions of dollars to a guy worth 11 point four billion dollars,” says Harpootlian.

The Panthers want to build their complex on a 200-acre lot right off I-77. The Mayor of Rock Hill says he doesn’t want the city to lose the opportunity. He hopes lawmakers come through.

“It’s a gain all the way around. The gain is an investment in South Carolina in Rock Hill especially. So it’s a win for all,” says Mayor John Gettys.

Wednesday, the bill passed it’s second reading in the State Senate unanimously.  The formal vote will be Thursday. Then last hurdle, heading to the governor’s desk. Henry McMaster wants to make this happen, so he will likely sign it quickly.