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Rep. Pushes for Tax-Exempt Bonds for Las Vegas Stadium

Las Vegas Stadium rendering

Amidst debate over proposed tax reform, congressional representative Dina Titus is seeking to allow the new Las Vegas stadium to be financed using tax-exempt bonds. 

Federal lawmakers continue to debate a proposed tax reform bill that includes a ban on the use of tax-exempt bonds for the construction of facilities used by professional sports franchises. The House and the Senate have passed two distinct versions of the bill, leaving a conference committee to reconcile those differences, but Titus–a Nevada representative–is pushing to allow for the financing of a new Las Vegas stadium for the Oakland Raiders to proceed with tax-exempt bonds.

The $1.9 billion project includes $750 million in public funding, and ground was broken on the stadium this fall. This week, Titus wrote a letter seeking language that exempts both the stadium and an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center from any ban. Local officials are noting that the elimination of tax-exempt bonds could have financial implications on the projects. More from The Las Vegas Review-Journal:

The House version of the bill clearly bans the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance or refinance a building “used as a stadium or arena for professional sports exhibitions, games or training.” Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, said the inability to use tax-exempt bonds would increase the cost of financing bonds by about $3 million a year.

The Stadium Authority and the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee have long considered the use of tax-exempt bonds as a mechanism to make the stadium affordable as an economic development driver for Southern Nevada. Hill indicated in November that should the bill become law, it wouldn’t kill the stadium financing plan, but reduce the amount of money available for other expenses.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also is concerned about the bill because in the past, some convention facilities have been used for professional bowling, boxing and team-sport exhibitions.

The Raiders and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority have not completed their final agreements for the venue, meaning that the bonds are unlikely to be issued until the spring. The Raiders are expected to debut at the stadium for the 2020 NFL season.

Rendering courtesy MANICA Architecture. 

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