A bill in the Arizona Legislature allowing Pima County residents to vote on increased taxes for spring-training facilities is alive, but we're not sure it will matter.
A bill in the Arizona Legislature allowing Tucson residents to vote on increased taxes for spring-training facilities is alive, but we're not sure it will matter.
The measure allows Pima County residents to vote on an array of sales-tax hikes — mostly in hotel, restaurant and amusement taxes — in order to pay for new spring-training facilities down the line, with the goal of attracting an MLB team or two for spring training.
The original bill died when the original sponsor was punished for his vote on an unrelated bill. Another Tucson-area legislator stepped forward to push the bill, with claims of enough support for passage.
Even if the bill passes, we're just don't see a return of spring training to Tucson any time soon. There's a reason why the White Sox bailed on Tucson and the Diamondbacks and Rockies are soon to follow: it's just not a very convenient location for spring training. MLB teams have never drawn particularly well in spring training in Tucson. In addition, it must be remembered that it's spring training for minor-league team as well, who participate in a four-team mini-league. Having less than four teams in Tucson means having teams in Phoenix participate in the mini-league. And that means two hours of communiting each way for two minor-league squads per MLB team. Having a group of four or more teams in an area makes spring training go so much easier for MLB teams — and at the end of the day that convenience is a powerful selling point.
RELATED STORIES: Tucson spring-training tax is dead — for now
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