NATIONAL NEWS

Bill to help finance a Las Vegas ballpark for Oakland A’s passes Nevada Senate, heads to Assembly

Jun 13, 2023, 3:48 PM

FILE - This rendering provided by the Oakland Athletics on May 26, 2023, shows a view of their prop...

FILE - This rendering provided by the Oakland Athletics on May 26, 2023, shows a view of their proposed new ballpark at the Tropicana site in Las Vegas. The Nevada Legislature is set to convene Wednesday, June 7, for a special legislative session to consider whether to provide $380 million in public financing for a stadium that would host the Oakland Athletics on the Las Vegas Strip. (Courtesy of Oakland Athletics via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Courtesy of Oakland Athletics via AP, File)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A stadium financing bill aimed at drawing the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas cleared a major hurdle Tuesday after being approved by the Nevada Senate, but not before lawmakers amended the measure to strengthen its benefits for the community.

The 13-8 Senate vote marks another step as the bill moves through the Democratic-controlled Legislature while reviving the national debate over public funding for private sports clubs. The bill, which has the support of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, must now be considered by the state Assembly.

A’s representatives and some Nevada tourism officials have said the measure could add to Las Vegas’ growing sports scene and act as an economic engine. But a growing chorus of economists and some lawmakers have warned that such a project would bring minimal benefits when compared to the hefty public price tag.

Senate approval came after days of closed-door negotiations and a contentious hearing about the bill, which calls for contributing $380 million in public funding for the proposed $1.5 billion stadium.

Many lawmakers have criticized a lack of community benefits and the special session rush to consider the financing bill. But legislators several struck a more positive tone Tuesday, saying the amendments addressed much of their skepticism.

“I assure every Nevadan, even those of you who have concerns about this bill — I assure you that if you see where the bill started and where it is now, that there’s not a single Nevadan that won’t say this bill was much better,” said Democratic Sen. Edgar Flores.

Republican Sen. Ira Hansen was among a bipartisan group of senators still concerned about the amount of public funding that would be spend on the project.

“Honestly, if it was my own money, it’s a good deal. I would probably vote yes. But it’s not my money,” Hansen said. “It’s the taxpayers’ money, and we should do all we can to ensure the private sector does these sorts of investments.”

Amendments to the bill include diversity requirements for stadium and construction jobs as well as community service requirements for Athletics players. They also would accelerate the funneling of money generated from operations to a homelessness prevention account and make a larger share of $180 million in state transferable tax credits that are proposed for the stadium refundable to the state.

Lawmakers also inserted changes unrelated to the stadium proposal but which mirror legislation Lombardo vetoed earlier this month.

One would require all Nevada companies with at least 50 full-time employees to establish paid family and medical leave to qualify for certain tax abatements. Another would remove a provision that exempts railroad workers under state contracts from being paid the prevailing wage for similar work in the region.

Last month, Lombardo’s office introduced the stadium financing bill with less than two weeks left in the legislative session. He called lawmakers into the special session after the bill failed to pass during the regular session.

The $380 million in public funds for the stadium would mainly come from the $180 million in transferable tax credits and $120 million in county bonds. Backers have pledged that the creation of a special tax district around the proposed stadium would generate enough money to pay off those bonds and interest. The plan would not directly raise taxes unless the county cannot pay off its bonds, as is the case with other general obligation bonds.

The A’s would not owe property taxes for the publicly-owned stadium. Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, would also contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The proposed 30,000-seat stadium would be the smallest in Major League Baseball.

___

Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service that places journalists in newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.

National News

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Se...

Associated Press

This is how Secret Service protection has changed for presidents over the years

WASHINGTON (AP) — During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, anyone could come to the White House and see him. Come they did: mothers looking to have their sons released from military service, wives urging that their husbands be freed from prison after resisting the draft, others who simply wanted to meet the president. “Some only wanted comfort […]

36 minutes ago

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

UN approves more transparent procedures for people and entities to get off its sanctions lists

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved more transparent procedures Friday for the hundreds of individuals, companies and other entities who are subject to U.N. sanctions and want to get off the blacklists. The resolution, co-sponsored by Malta and the United States, also authorizes the establishment of a new informal working […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Dec. 13...

Associated Press

Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pancreatic cancer, has died

Longtime U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who helped lead federal efforts to protect women from domestic violence and recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, has died. She was 74. Lillie Conley, her chief of staff, confirmed Friday night that Jackson Lee, who had pancreatic cancer, had died. The Democrat had represented her Houston-based […]

8 hours ago

Stools line the bar at Elwood's Liquor and Tap on Thursday, July 18, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wis. This w...

Associated Press

Outside the RNC, small Milwaukee businesses and their regulars tried to salvage a sluggish week

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jay Nelson was standing outside the convenience store he manages in downtown Milwaukee when one of his regular customers walked by on her daily stroll around the neighborhood. “I’ve been telling people to come and buy even just a bottle of wine,” she said, stretching out her arms. “I hope it helps.” […]

8 hours ago

Descendants of Nelson Bell, brothers Milford Fonza, front left, and Elmer Fonza, front right, surro...

Associated Press

In a California gold rush town, some Black families are fighting for land taken from their ancestors

COLOMA, Calif. (AP) — In a tiny town where the California gold rush began, Black families are seeking restitution for land that was taken from their ancestors to make way for a state park now frequented by fourth graders learning about the state’s history. Their efforts in Coloma, a town of around 300 people that’s […]

8 hours ago

Bill to help finance a Las Vegas ballpark for Oakland A’s passes Nevada Senate, heads to Assembly