A new downtown El Paso ballpark will happen with or without voter approval of a hotel/motel tax hike, according to city officials, as opponents argue that voting down the tax will be the same as voting down the ballpark.
Proposition 3 on the Nov. 6 bond ballot designates the ballpark as a sports venue — per Texas law — and would raise the city’s hotel/motel tax by 2 percentage points, to 17.5 percent. Opponents says that because the ballot question involves designating the ballpark as a sports venue, voting for the referendum would kill the ballpark project.
Not so, say legal experts: the city is contractually bound to build a ballpark no matter if the ballot question is approved. From the El Paso Times:
“If you’re going to build it as a venue project, Chapter 334 gives you access to use (hotel) taxes for it,” said Paul Braden, the city’s bond counsel. “But it doesn’t mean you can’t build it through some other venue if voters don’t approve that funding mechanism.”
The $50-million ballpark is envisioned as the future home of the Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
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