South Carolina advances tax break bills that could lure Carolina Panthers into moving

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball as Taylor Stallworth #76 of the New Orleans Saints defends during the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Carolina Panthers have not yet committed to moving to South Carolina, but the state is already moving forward with legislation to clear the way for the move.

Both the South Carolina House and Senate finance panels passed identical bills Tuesday that could convince the team to cross the border from Charlotte, North Carolina, to York County, The State reports.

The bills would give the team job tax and development credits, make professional sports teams exempt from city and county license fees and taxes and prevent municipalities from annexing a team’s property.

Both bills still need South Carolina House and Senate approval before they move on to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk.

“The governor has responded that he would sign them with alacrity,” said bill sponsor and House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-York, The State reports.

Reports indicate that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based team had already begun talks with leaders from Rock Hill about relocating the Panthers’ headquarters and training facility to South Carolina, according to The State, citing U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman and Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys.

The team’s legal representatives met with a state senator to address possible legislative changes that could make South Carolina a more attractive place for a future headquarters.

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and other team officials will continued these talks on March 13 in a meeting with Gov. McMaster.

“I view this as the Carolina Panthers in both states, so we have to think about where we’re putting things,” Tepper said in a press conference in July.

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