Little support for the use of Nevada tax dollars on the baseball stadium


CARSON CITY – The Nevada legislature gave the Oakland Raiders 750 million reasons to move to Las Vegas five years ago. Would they do the same for Oakland Athletics?

The short answer is “no,” said most legislative leaders when asked about the use of tax dollars to fund a baseball stadium.

“I think the idea of ​​giving public money for this type of effort, I just don’t think we can afford it as a state,” Assembly Speaker Jason said. Frierson.

Track and field officials traveled to southern Nevada this week to consider a move to Las Vegas after Major League Baseball gave them the green light to explore relocation as the team’s proposal to build a new stadium in Oakland was blocked.

Las Vegas is a newcomer to the world of the original cities of professional sports. But with the success of the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena and the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium, Southern Nevada has become an attractive option for teams looking to relocate.

The team is hoping for some sort of public-private partnership, similar to the agreement reached in 2016, using an increase in Clark County room taxes to provide $ 750 million in public funding for part of the cost of building the $ 2 billion for the Raiders’ new home.

The Clark County hotel room tax was increased by 0.88% to fund the stadium project as well as the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The stadium’s share of the room tax generated $ 164.6 million from its inception in March 2017 through February this year.

But there appears to be little appetite for such a deal in Carson City.

No public dollars

“It’s great for the community, it’s great for branding. But I would hesitate to consider any policy that proposes to use public funds to provide a vehicle for a private company like this if it is not going to have a relatively immediate return on investment, ”said Frierson.

This is a sentiment shared by members of the leadership of both parties, it seems.

“I believe we can attract an MLB team to our world-class city without using taxpayer dollars,” said assemblyman Tom Roberts, R-Las Vegas. “Our loyal fan base, sense of community, team spirit and sportsmanship are second to none.”

Public funding for the legislature that increased taxes would require a two-thirds vote in both houses to raise any existing taxes or create a new one. But that’s not the only kind of public support the team could receive.

Local governments in southern Nevada could offer land for a stadium for free or at a reduced price, as the town of Henderson did to get the Raiders to build its training facility. (The Raiders subsequently sold its headquarters for $ 191 million and leased it.) Henderson also entered into secret talks with the Arizona Diamondbacks in an attempt to lure the team to southern Nevada. .

Senate Minority Leader James Settelmeyer R-Minden believes the team may have a way to seek that public funding, using the law passed to fund the Raiders’ stadium to do so.

This law, as drafted, however, only applied to a “National Football League stadium project”. Settelmeyer said the Legislature may consider changing that statute, which he voted for, so that it can also include athletics.

Still, Settlemeyer said he was “ready to have the talk” and sees it as a great opportunity to attract another major professional franchise to the state.

“I hope Vegas is watching it. And I hope they talk to the [Legislature], and if there’s anything we can do to reasonably entice them, ”Settelmeyer said.

Governor mom on baseball

It was then-Gov. Brian Sandoval who called a special session of lawmakers in 2016 to iron out the deal for the Raiders.

Current Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, didn’t have much to say when asked if he would consider a similar tax program for athletics.

“The governor is on Capitol Hill in Carson City and is focused on the legislative session,” Sisolak spokeswoman Meghin Delaney said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro of D-Las Vegas signaled on Saturday that stadium talks are not in the mix as lawmakers near the end of the regular legislative session.

“With three days to go to the end of the session, we are focusing on finalizing budgets and implementing policies as we move forward to help Nevadans recover from the pandemic,” Cannizzaro said in a statement. “A stadium isn’t even something that’s on our radar right now.”

Or maybe the Legislature likes football more.

Contact Capital Office Chief Colton Lochhead at [email protected] To pursue @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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