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Athletics ballpark bill passed by Nevada Senate; Assembly next

new Vegas A's ballpark

After a day that saw an amended Oakland Athletics ballpark bill easily passed on a 13-8 bipartisan vote by the Nevada Senate, the Nevada Assembly will next take up the issue as soon as tomorrow.

The Senate was voting on SB1, which would set up $180 million in transferrable state tax credits for the A’s and order Clark County to cover $145 million on ballpark costs ($120 million directly in bonds for the ballpark and $25 million for infrastructure credits) backed by a sales-tax and payroll tax revenue generated by the ballpark. 

Technically, the Athletics ballpark bill was passed twice today, first by the Senate Committee of the Whole (a tool usually used to expedite special-session legislation) and then by the Senate proper. The votes came after a weekend with the team and legislative leaders working on a community benefits agreement as well as other changes addressed by amendments. The community benefits had not been specified in the legislation, and a second amendment brought some additional details to the funding mechanisms. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

During both the construction and operation phases of the stadium, the workforce is required to be diverse, and must be paid a living wage. Team players must participate in education programs, such as youth baseball, and the team must provide scholarships, mentorships and internships.

It requires minimum community benefits funding from the A’s of $500,000 each year before the opening of the stadium. Once the ballpark is in operation for the start of the 2028 season, that funding increases to either $1.5 million per year or 1 percent of ticket revenues, said Steve Hill, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The amendment also outlines plans for accountability. A baseball stadium community oversight committee will submit reports detailing the progress and accountability of the community benefits to the governor, the Legislative Counsel Bureau and Clark County officials. A community benefits director will advise the committee and monitor compliance with the agreement.

Also clarified for senators: Clark County voters will be on the hook should a special tax district not generate enough revenue to cover bonding. Clark County is being directed to issue general-obligation bonds, but there’s some wiggle room here; the state will offer a line of credit, and the special tax district has been expanded to the ballpark “and any surrounding or adjacent properties necessary for the operation of that project,” excluding casinos or hotels. (Watch out, Hooters.) The state specifically is not involved in the issuance of the bonds or backing them.

As we noted: next up is a vote in the Assembly; by the time you read this it’s likely the Assembly Committee of the Whole has already been briefed on the specifics of the amendments. Today’s vote was bipartisan:

There was a lot of rhetoric from folks opposing passage, but at the end of the day two of the most vocal opponents didn’t even show up for the vote. As we noted last week: “If you’ve spent a lot of time around legislative bodies, you know just because there are some loud voices in opposition doesn’t mean there’s not a majority in favor.”

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s.

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