A Virginia House panel has rejected legislation that, as designed, could have blocked subsidies for a new Washington Redskins stadium in the state.
There has been some discussion about whether Virginia could be a landing spot for the team if it builds a new stadium to replace its current home, FedEx Field. Last month, delegate Michael Webert introduced a bill that could have complicated that scenario by effectively preventing Virginia, and its cities and counties, from subsidizing the construction or operation of venues used by a professional sports franchise. In addition to stadiums, that could include training facilities and offices that are for the use of a professional sports team.
Along with that bill, Webert proposed legislation that called for a compact involving Maryland, Virginia, and Washington. Under that compact, the parties would agree to prevent a bidding war by not offering the Redskins incentives or tax breaks to build a stadium in their jurisdiction.
In a 7-0 vote on Wednesday, a House budget subcommittee opted to lay the bills on the table, meaning that they have been killed for the year. While making this decision, officials expressed concerns that one of Webert’s bills was too broad and would complicate other discussions around the state regarding the construction of new facilities. More from The Richmond Times Dispatch:
Webert argued taking public money off the table would boost Virginia’s competitive advantage by forcing the Redskins, which he called his “favorite team,” to look at other factors such as the tax environment and zoning laws.
The subcommittee voted down the bill with no discussion.
Lawmakers on the panel seemed more concerned with Webert’s other bill, which would have barred state and local governments from offering public incentives for stadiums beginning in 2019.
Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, said the bill casts “a pretty broad net” and asked if the bill would prevent the U.S. Olympic field hockey team from practicing at a stadium funded by his city.
The Redskins’ lease at FedEx Field runs through the 2027 season. Aside from Virginia, where Loudon County has often been mentioned as a possible destination, the team could ultimately consider options in Maryland–where FedEx Field is located–and Washington. In Washington, there is still plenty of sentiment for seeing the club construct a new facility at the site of RFK Stadium.
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