Chicago Cubs management says the team isn't necessarily wedded to the idea of a ticket surcharge on all Cactus League games to help pay for a new Mesa spring-training facility.
In a day filled with mixed signals, Chicago Cubs president Crane Kenney says a 8 percent surcharge on Cactus League ducats won't be necessary to fund a new Mesa spring-training complex, but later said that all potential revenue sources are still on the table.
Those potential revenue sources include a $1 hike in the car-rental tax in Maricopa County — currently one of the highest in the nation — and a countyside sales tax hike.
A proposal from Arizona lawmakers to put the 8 percent surcharge on all Cactus League tickets was met with outright opposition from several Cactus League teams and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, even though the surcharge proceeds wouldn't have gone directly to the Cubs: it would have gone to replenish the depleted coffers of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (ASTA), which has financed the spring-facility building spree in the Valley of the Sun. ASTA, then, would help finance the new Cubs facility — and probably have enough money left over for other facility improvements.
Apparently the opposition worked: while Kenney backtracked later in the day about the surcharge being on the table, most of the teams we contacted confirmed they've been told that the proposal would be withdrawn from the Legislature. We've not seen an analysis of how much the rental-car tax would raise; a countywide sales tax certainly would lessen Mesa's financial commitment to the complex as well.
The new complex, slated to open in 2013, would replace HoHoKam Park and Fitch Field as the spring home of the Cubs.
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