A’s pitch ‘public’ Las Vegas ballpark to lawmakers with self-funding ‘tax district’

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 8:10 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Oakland A’s are pitching a “tax district” to fund a new Las Vegas stadium, and the facility would be publicly owned if certain tax exemptions are approved for the project.

Lawmakers told FOX5 about how a tax district and tax credits could be part of a package, and said it could essentially “pay for itself” without taxpayer money or revenue from the state’s general fund. Governor Joe Lombardo is spearheading negotiations.

Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis is working with policymakers and the team on a potential bill. He has worked with the A’s to analyze the economic impact on the team’s move to Las Vegas, and fans could book 400,000 rooms a year to attend games.

According to Aguero, other stadiums in different cities have similar development agreements to ultimately guarantee a publicly-owned facility.

“A tax district is really just kind of a technical term that says, imagine that we draw a boundary around anything. Whatever the taxes are, that are generated within that boundary, we’re going to use them for a special purpose,” Aguero said.

Taxes generated in such a stadium include live entertainment, taxes, payroll taxes, insurance premium taxes, sales taxes, or even retail taxes from supplies purchased during construction.

A tax district would redirect the funds into the project. “All those taxes that will get generated by that stadium will then be reinvested back into the project to help offset the cost of construction of the project,” Aguero said. The team would also ask for a property tax exemption, and every project with such exemptions would essentially be publicly owned.

“The stadium is not owned by the A’s. The A’s are going to construct it, and then they have to give it over to the public. For most of the stadiums and arenas that are constructed using that model, they’re exempt from property tax,” Aguero said.

The team has also proposed a penalty clause to protect Nevada if the team leaves before its 30-year lease is up.

“If they leave before the term of the lease is over, they’re required to pay off the bonds that were issued in support of its construction. So if the A’s in an unfortunate or unexpected circumstance were to leave Southern Nevada, the public should own a baseball stadium free and clear,” he said.

Ultimately, lawmakers would have to determine the terms of a deal in a bill. FOX5 asked Aguero about viewers’ concerns about the team’s investment in the Valley, and commitment to a winning team.

“Let’s not forget that this team is going to invest over a billion dollars in the stadium. That gives them about a billion reasons to make sure that the fans in there have a great experience, that they come back,” he said.