Sep 15, 2011

The City of Saint Louis has provided Tax Increment Financing to fund St. Louis University’s construction of a new arena. (Tax Increment Financing consists of the city’s issuing a bond, giving the bond revenues to the University to pay for the arena, and then repaying the bond out of the tax revenues that it eventually collects on the property.) The university is a Jesuit institution that plans to use the arena for sporting events, concerts, and Mass. The university filed an action in state court seeking a declaratory judgment that the financing is constitutional, and the local Masonic Temple counterclaimed, arguing that the funding violates the Missouri Constitution. The trial court found that the financing did not violate the state constitution, and the state’s intermediate court of appeals affirmed but also referred the case to the state supreme court for further review. We submitted an amicus brief in December 2006, arguing that the financing scheme violated the Establishment Clause because it did not impose any safeguards or monitoring to ensure that the government-funded facility is not used for religious purposes. In April 2007, the court issued a decision holding that the financing program did not violate the Missouri constitutional prohibition against providing state money to any institution "controlled by a religious creed." The Masonic Temple then filed a motion for reconsideration, which the court denied. The plaintiffs elected not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, and the case has therefore been concluded.