By GABE STERN
Associated Press/Report for America
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Lawmakers are considering a proposal to finance and incentivize construction of a Major League Baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, with an initial public hearing scheduled Monday at the Nevada Legislature.
The plan would authorize up to $380 million in incentives for the potential $1.5 billion retractable-roof stadium, mainly through state transferable tax credits and county bonds to help provide a home for the Oakland Athletics. The state would forgo up to $180 million in transferable tax credits, with a cap at $36 million per year. The $120 million in county bonds would help with construction costs and be paid off gradually.
The proposal’s price tag and behind-the-scenes negotiations have sparked debate about public subsidies and equity in state economic development efforts.
State lawmakers also are considering billions of dollars in tax credits to bring major film studios to Las Vegas. The governor’s office of economic development has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in tax abatements for Tesla in efforts to broaden Nevada’s tourism and gaming-based economy.
The stadium financing bill was introduced late Friday night after more than a month of speculation, as the A’s move away from Oakland appears increasingly imminent. As of Monday morning, it is already the most-commented on proposal this session with over 1,500 opinions — nearly three-quarters of which are in opposition.
Many proponents say that Las Vegas has an increasing capacity to support major league professional sports, and that bringing the Athletics to the Strip would add sustainable jobs to an area hit especially hard by the pandemic. Opponents say the stadium is not worth hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to bring another large corporation on the Las Vegas Strip, especially as A’s management has switched proposed locations and drawn out negotiations for how much public assistance they are requesting.
The A’s have been looking for a home to replace the Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since 1968 after departing Kansas City. The team previously sought to build a stadium in California at Fremont, then San Jose, and finally the Oakland waterfront — ideas that never materialized.
The plan in the Nevada Legislature would not directly raise taxes, meaning it can move forward with a simple majority vote in the state Senate and Assembly.
Lawmakers have until June 5 to act on the proposal, when the four-month legislative session adjourns. Though it could potentially be reviewed later if a special session is called.
Until then, the plan faces an uncertain path. On Thursday, Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo follows through on threats to veto several Democratic-backed spending bills if his legislative priorities are not addressed.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.