The deal to bring the A’s to Las Vegas headed into extra innings in a special session that has proved bipartisanship is possible in Carson City, with many lawmakers from opposing teams uniting against a plan to build a $1.5 billion, publicly-funded stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
Governor Lombardo, who supports the plan, called for a second special session for the legislature to review SB1, a duplicate of SB509 which failed to pass by the end of the legislative session. Legislators on opposing teams are now considering and challenging the up-to $380 million public financing package.
The legislation includes the creation of a Sports and Entertainment Improvement District for a planned 30,000-seat, publicly owned, retractable roof stadium located on the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. Construction is estimated at $1.5 billion and is estimated create more than 14,000 construction jobs.
The extensive and detailed reporting by The Nevada Independent is a home run:
Under the bill’s structure, the A’s could receive a package of $180 million in transferable tax credits and upward of $120 million in Clark County-issued bonds. Those funds would support development of the $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium the A’s are seeking to build at the site of the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip, with the team required to put forward more than $1.1 billion for construction.
Tax revenues generated by the stadium, from sales tax on construction materials to payroll taxes paid on wages to stadium employees, would pay off those bonds and half of the tax credits over 30 years. The stadium land, which would be owned by the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, would also receive a property tax exemption, which could be valued at tens or hundreds of millions of dollars over the lifetime of the stadium.
A diverse coalition of supporters offered testimony for and against the proposal. The Culinary Union Local 226, surrounding casinos, Governor Lombardo (R) and State Treasurer Zach Conine (D) are backing the deal, while State Republicans and Democrats, teachers unions, and progressive nonprofits are unified in opposition.
The NSEA has launched a campaign against the move and created a logo, similar to the A’s, to express their opposition:
Lawmakers pushed back against the proposal, stressing that the monies used for a baseball stadium should be used for education, infrastructure and government services. They also highlighted the A’s abysmal stats and poor attendance as reasons to avoid public financing and related risk.
During the hearing, Jeremy Aguero, an analyst hired by the A’s, implied he was a trained economist, when in fact he has a degree in Hotel Administration.
This foul ball was called out by the Executive Director of the NSEA, Brian Lee, who threw a nasty fastball high and tight, followed by a heater down the middle.
— Brian Lee (@BrianLeeNV) June 8, 2023
For the more visually inclined. Please enjoy this Venn Diagram (in A’s colors) to explain the intersection of Jeremy Aguero and all trained economists. pic.twitter.com/WWgTj0eNNv
— Brian Lee (@BrianLeeNV) June 8, 2023
Senator Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas) peppered Aguero and asked, “I just want to make sure that I got this understood, on the record. Your testimony is that a public stadium is a bad idea, everywhere else, except for Las Vegas.”
“What I’m suggesting is that the fact that our visitor economy is more robust than almost anywhere else in the United States allows us to do things and benefit from things differently than other areas. I cannot opine everywhere else,” replied Aguero.
Republican Senator Ira Hanson (SD-14), known for signs on the front door of his office, displayed his position quite legibly:
As seen on Sen. Hansen's door today pic.twitter.com/7NgVTlMj1w
— Jessica Hill (@jess_hillyeah) June 7, 2023
His Republican colleagues in the Senate, Minority Leader Heidi Gansert (SD-15) and Jeff Stone (SD-28) have signaled early support, citing that the revenue and success of sports stadiums on the Strip have demonstrated that risk would be minimized as Las Vegas tourists and locals will provide support and additional revenue to local and State coffers.
Amendments are anticipated, and the Committees of the Whole, which include all members of each house, will vote on the legislation followed by a floor vote in the Senate. If the legislation passes first base in the Senate, the bill will head to the Assembly and the process will be repeated. The Special session has been adjourned until Monday.
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