GOP tax plan would affect Las Vegas Raiders stadium plan
November 6, 2017
LAS VEGAS — The Republican tax overhaul introduced in Congress could affect funding for the proposed $1.9 billion stadium that will house the Las Vegas Raiders.
A provision of the 429-page bill ends tax-exempt status on bonds used to pay for stadiums used by professional sports teams, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Saturday.
The Oakland Raiders' bid to build a 65,000-seat domed football stadium clearly falls within circumstances that would be banned in legislation President Donald Trump has vowed to approve by Thanksgiving. The stadium's financing plan includes $750 million in publicly issued tax-exempt bonds.
A staff adviser to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, told the newspaper he has been inundated with calls about the change.
"The stadium, as designed, appears to meet the definition of a project that could not use tax-exempt bonds," Aguero said Friday. "That could potentially affect the financial models we have been using in estimating the potential cost of the project."
The proposal would likely increase the bond interest rate and either make the project more expensive or decrease the yield, Aguero said.
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A legal expert in tax-exempt projects and real estate-based financing said many people were caught by surprise by the content of the legislation.
Richard Jost, an attorney with the Fennemore Craig law firm who also teaches classes at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, called it "somewhat of a shock to everybody" that the proposal was not only in the bill but that it would be effective immediately.
Jost predicted that supporters of the stadium would be burning up the phone lines between Nevada and the state's congressional delegation to amend legislation to exempt the Las Vegas stadium project from the plan. A simple fix would be to exempt projects that are already underway, he said.
The authority next meets Thursday. It's unclear whether the legislation would be a topic of discussion at that meeting, Aguero said.
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