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Draft of A’s ballpark funding bill released

new Vegas A's ballpark

The Nevada Independent has published draft language for an Oakland A’s ballpark funding bill that could be presented to the Nevada Legislature as soon as today, language that contains few surprises.

This is a draft bill, and some of the details are being negotiated, so there’s a chance the bill that actually comes up for debate won’t have the exact language of the draft bill. But most of the details–a limit on public assistance at $380 million, Clark County floating at least $120 million in bonding, the state issuing $180 million in transferable tax credits–have been widely reported. A tax-increment financing district encompassing the ballpark, covering all tax revenues generated by the ballpark, would back the bonds.

The biggest new detail is that the new ballpark will be overseen by the existing Las Vegas Stadium Authority, which also oversees Allegiant Stadium. Whether this poses any political issues remains to be seen: Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has opposed the move of the A’s to Vegas, and putting the authority in a position where members might need to choose between the two facilities certainly will not please Davis. The A’s would sign a 30-year lease and cover all cost overruns on the $1.5-billion, 30,000-seat retractable-roof ballpark. From the Independent:

The bill does not call for new revenue, so passage would only require a simple majority vote — instead relying on a combination of tax credits from the state, county bonds paid off through tax-increment financing (in a format also known as a TIF district) and a 30-year property tax exemption separate from the public financing provided directly for the project. The A’s would also be responsible for any cost overruns.

As drafted, the bill also requires Clark County to create “a resort corridor homelessness prevention and assistance fund” managed in partnership with the Major League Baseball team and the Nevada Resort Association. The fund would be aimed at reducing homelessness in and around the Southern Nevada resort corridor but would not receive contributions from the Stadium Authority until construction was complete and debt obligations met.

However, a potential A’s deal is at risk of falling apart amid a deepening rift between legislative Democrats and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo over the state budget. On Thursday, Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) said in a press conference that they would not move to advance any policy legislation — including an A’s bill — until Lombardo has signed the budget, which could hit the governor’s desk as soon as this weekend. 

Interestingly, the bill does not specify the Tropicana Resort site currently considered as the frontrunner. There have been reports that the A’s have toured other potential ballpark sites even after Bally’s announced a “binding agreement” to partner with the Athletics ownership on the Trop development.

If everything happens smoothly–legislative approval of the ballpark bill, Clark County approval of bonding, FAA approval of the plan–we could see owners in a position to approve the move of the A’s at the next owner meetings, set for June 13-15. If all this happens, a groundbreaking could happen in 2024 and a ballpark opening in 2027.

Renderings courtesy Oakland A’s.

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