stadiums

Battle Over Publicly-Financed Las Vegas Stadium Heats Up

Sheldon Adelson and NFL's Raiders run into opposition from conservative tax watchdog group and Nevada's largest labor union over proposed stadium.

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Pay up, suckers
Fernando Carniel Machado/Dreamstime.com

A prominent Las Vegas labor union and a conservative tax watchdog group have both come out in vocal opposition to the proposed $750 million public subsidy for a new stadium intended to lure the National Football League (NFL)'s Raiders to Sin City.

As I noted here at Reason earlier this month, to get the stadium built, "the Raiders, who currently call Oakland (Calif.) home, will contribute far less at $500 million, while Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and financier of failed political campaigns, will contribute $650 million through his Las Vegas Sands corporation." If the deal goes through as presently constructed, Adelson's group will not be required to share any profits with the public.

Via the Twitter feed of KTNV political analyst Jon Ralston, The Nevada Taxpayers Association sent out a letter featuring 16 reasons to oppose raising hotel taxes one percent to help finance the stadium, including:

  • The bond will have to be paid out of the public tax coffers whether or not the tax increase raises sufficient revenue.
  • A recently as this year, a NFL team abandoned a city which publicly financed its stadium—before the debt on the stadium was paid off.
  • The public won't share in the stadium's profits.
  • Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R)—who supports the stadium proposal—has called for $300 million in budget cuts "because other taxes are under-performing."
  • And finally, "There is no evidence to suggest that a publicly funded stadium brings any benefit to taxpayers and there is significant data indicating that subsidized stadiums can be a detriment to a community."

Earlier this week Nevada's largest private sector labor union—the Culinary Workers Union—released a Dr. Seuss-esque video mocking the stadium proposal. Watch below:

Not to be outdone, the Adelson-funded group Support the Las Vegas Dome (which has been pushing the unintentionally hilarious hashtag #DOTHEDOMETHING) released an NFL Films style video obviously directed at the jock-sniffers, but which was also loaded with overblown promises made countless times elsewhere about the thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars that will be added to the economy.

Tiltled "Five Things to Know About Bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas," the video includes such sound and reasoned arguments as, "The stadium will be awesome. Not awesome-awesome, Vegas-awesome," and "The public will own the stadium. That's right, it's YOUR stadium," though the video doesn't recommend you show up to the stadium without paying for parking and admission:

Gov. Sandoval has called for a special session of the legislature to convene in early October to vote on the stadium proposal, which if passed by two-thirds of both the Senate and the Assembly will become a reality.

Read more Reason coverage on the never-ending boondoggle of publicly-financed stadiums here.

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  1. Is the stadium going to be built in the image of a pirate ship?

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      1. Excellent, you can fund the stadium!

        1. If it’s such a good idea let Adelson build it himself and keep all the profits.

        2. “Excellent, you can fund the stadium!”
          And Musk’s trip to Mars!

  2. The costs are immaterial. Look at the Texas high schools. The point is the pride. If your city doesn’t have at least one, preferably several, professional sports franchises, you’re a bunch of sissy mincing faggots. Real cities have sports teams. It doesn’t matter if they have to beggar themselves to get them, by god they make it fucking happen. Or else you aren’t a real city and don’t have a dick, except when you do have one when engaging in gay sex which you do because you don’t have a sports team.

    1. Why do you hate Oakland? I mean, who else is going to go there?

      1. Hyperion,

        Sorry about the late response.
        “Why do you hate Oakland? I mean, who else is going to go there?”
        How about the Black Panthers and the Hell’s Angels?
        They always make good neighbors.

    2. Las Vegas is already going to get an NHL team, and they’re playing in a stadium that was (I think) entirely privately funded by MGM and Anschutz. They don’t really have an envy excuse anymore to waste taxpayer money.

      1. MLS doesn’t count (sounds like some kind of degenerative disease ugly kids get and that you do a 5k for once a year), and NHL in non-Great Lakes bordering states only counts half.

        1. Clearly somebody much smarter than the city government thinks that the NHL is economically viable, hence why an arena was privately built for them and why an NFL stadium “requires” taxpayer dollars. I’m assuming that taxpayers have a vote in this (if not I feel horrible for them), and if they do the logic is so obvious that even a teenager could parse it out.

          1. Some much smarter people thought the NHL was viable in Atlanta. Twice. And the Coyotes are constantly flirting with bankruptcy.

            I’m a Blues fan, and enjoy hockey. I’m just not sold on it’s viability in some places.

            1. The NHL should’ve been viable in Atlanta based on how large their TV market is, but the team was awful and incompetent throughout their existence as a franchise. That’s the other thing that’s unpredictable about sporting investments: if they win, people will come, so having a team in the right hands is vital to success in non-traditional markets. That’s why teams in Nashville, Tampa, and San Jose have a strong following and teams like Atlanta and (until last year) Fort Lauderdale didn’t.

            2. Also, note that McPhee’s going to run the Vegas team, and he drafts very, very well.

          2. We don’t get to vote on it because the “tourists are going to pay for it all” with an increase in hotel taxes…unless of course that comes up short…

  3. Are there any homeless guys on streets of LV that can play defense?

    1. They looked good against the *laugh* Titans…*laugh* okay I couldn’t say the whole thing.

      And I say this as a Raiders fan. My god I hope Sean Smith isn’t as big a bust as he’s looking like so far.

      1. 70 points given up in the first 2 games. It’s not just Smith. There are so many holes in the defense that I don’t know how it can be fixed.

        1. Oh I know, but he’s a big money sink in addition to not doing his job well.

          I can deal with cheap players who suck more than I can big money hustlas who suck.

          And I’m a Texas Tech alumnus – I know how to live with non-existent defense.

    2. “Are there any homeless guys on streets of LV that can play defense?”

      Yeah, but they been drafted by the 9ers.

  4. The fuckwads on local (not Vegas) sports radio were struggling to work through stadium economics the other day. They believe that because a new stadium requires construction (jerbs!) and that a couple of bars near the stadium will thrive on game day (10 times a year, 12 if your team is really good, 13 if your team is really good and the Rolling Stones are on tour this year), then it’s an economic boom for the local economy. The idea that it will cost the taxpayers a billion dollars by the time the interest on the debt is paid off never occurs to them.

    They also were completely confused when someone called in to explain that if they built a stadium and a family of 4 went to a game, the cost of the parking, tickets, and concessions would come out of the part of the family budget that was currently going to local restaurants and that meant that the revenue generated on game day was completely displaced by decreased spending at other local establishments. Their answer was something about how the people that worked as ushers (10 times a year, 12 if your team is good, 13 if the Stones are on tour) somehow made it a net gain.

    1. As I’ve stated above, the part that I don’t understand about this is that Las Vegas already was rewarded an NHL expansion team without spending any public funds on an arena (it was entirely paid for by MGM). There’s no reason to add the NFL on top of it; if it was such a good idea to build a football stadium, some casinos would’ve built it already and taxpayer funds would not be necessary.

      1. ^This, a million times.

    2. Yeah, football stadiums are a waste of money. I can make an argument for an arena or a baseball stadium – they get enough traffic that they are potentially a break-even proposition for the city. Football is a weekend event and the fans will head anywhere for it (see Orchard Park, NY; East Rutherford, NJ; Landover, MD; etc). The best solution is to find a big plot of cheap land out by the airport in an unincorporated area and build it yourself.

  5. That’s right, it’s YOUR stadium,” though the video doesn’t recommend you show up to the stadium without paying for parking and admission:

    Obvious solution: vouchers. 16 games * 25 years * 10,000 seats = ~6 seats per person over the lifetime of the stadium for every current Vegas resident. Provide the vouchers up front, restrict them to the least desirable seats in the stadium, and reserve those seats only through the Sunday before the game (go on sale to the general public Monday AM). Now you have your publicly funded stadium and your free games.

  6. I think the fundamental observation is that entertainment redistributes money. It does not create new value.

    I suppose the counterargument is that happy people work harder. That was certainly the case when I played “Civilization”.

  7. Jesus Christ, they’ve got a fucking PIRATE as their mascot. At what point are we going to quit acting like a bunch of sheep and defend ourselves from pirates?

    Ken Shultz had made a comment the other day about how electing Hillary would establish an illegitimate government but I think we’re already past that point. I’ve pointed out before it’s pretty obvious the President and the Congress are only paying lip service to the Constitution and the idea of the rule of law and with the SCOTUS’ “deference” crap, the fact that every agency is getting its own SWAT teams, the FBI and the IRS and the NSA getting hauled before Congress and essentially telling Congress to fuck off, it’s none of your business how we operate, it’s pretty clear that government is fundamentally broken. It’s every man for himself already, the mundanes just haven’t caught on yet.

    1. Yyeeeeeaahh, the gov’t hasn’t been legitimate in quite some time.

      1. No government has been legitimate in recorded human history. The real issue is, as always, how much can we hedge the bastards in?

    2. Ken Shultz had made a comment the other day about how electing Hillary would establish an illegitimate government but I think we’re already past that point.

      Ironically enough, Ken Shultz was also cheerleading the fuck out of this stadium proposal in a previous thread as a freebie for Las Vegas taxpayers because “the tourists are going to pay for it!”

      1. And oh hey, if we scroll down we can find the fucking retard repeating his performance.

  8. Maybe they should apply to the Clinton foundation for a grant?

    1. Heck, Bill (or is that Chelsea’s job?) could just cut them a check and be done.

  9. BTW, Anthony, your takedown of David Ortiz at The Week was a thing of beauty, a much-needed kick in the balls to the pathetic ESPN-led slobbering over Shrek.

    1. the first time in 161 games against the Red Sox’s archrivals where he had been hit by a pitch

      They pitched him like they were afraid of him from the start and it fed right into his strengths as a hitter. This always infuriated me as a Yankee fan.

      I blame Posada for a lot of it. He never liked to set up inside, and went up and in even less. Thankfully, Sanchez seems to give no fucks.

      1. Yep, just let him hang over the plate year after year. And yes, the Kraken has shown thus far that he’s plenty willing to back a guy off the plate as he did with Donaldson the other night.

    2. Great read, thanks for the rec.

  10. Has any mayor tried to use imminent domain on a sports franchise?

    1. Not that I know of but I have been waiting for this to happen to the NFL owners. I would love to see all the mayors/governors whose city and state own football stadiums evict the NFL teams and start their own teams/league. Would serve those crony capitalists right. If you take money from the government don’t fucking complain when they break your knee caps.

      1. The only pro sports team I know of with a reasonable ownership arrangement is Green Bay, amd the NFL is on record as wanting never to allow something like that again.

  11. #DOTHEDOMETHING

    Whoever came up with that should be fired. Do these dipshits just never think about how easy it is to mock things like that, or are they so confident in the righteousness of their views that they don’t actually think anyone will make the glaringly obvious mockery of their stupid hashtag? #DOTHEDUMBTHING

  12. “Earlier this week Nevada’s largest private sector labor union?the Culinary Workers Union?released a Dr. Seuss-esque video mocking the stadium proposal.”

    If the Culinary Workers Union is against it, should I even need to check and see whether their opposition has anything to do with their unions members not yet being guaranteed jobs at the new stadium?

    Jesus Christ, we’re not opposed to the stadium because it doesn’t help the Culinary Workers Union in their rent seeking, are we?!

    P.S. What, didn’t ISIS have any video clips up opposing the new stadium?

    1. In general, both sides of the debate look at principals, not principles. If you want libertarianism to be relatable to the average voter, you have to be able to find and take down a common enemy, because talking about political principles is like a foreign language to most people.

      1. This is like running with Stalin’s propaganda against Hitler.

        I can denounce Hitler in libertarian terms. I don’t need Stalin’s help with anything.

    2. No need to check. That said, every ally against publicly-financed stadiums should be welcomed. (Unfortunately, they’re probably the easiest ones to be paid off.)

  13. “The bond will have to be paid out of the public tax coffers whether or not the tax increase raises sufficient revenue.”

    That’s an interesting point.

    Say, other than taxes, what are the government’s other sources of revenue?

    If a tax increase doesn’t cover the commitment, then will the government start taking funds from its profit making enterprises to pay for it?

    The correct answer is no–the government doesn’t have any profit making enterprises to speak of.

    What they really mean by this is that if the new tax on tourists that’s meant to pay for the government’s commitment doesn’t cover the costs, then they’d have to cover their commitment with other taxes.

    I guess you just didn’t want to mention that the proposal is about a tax on tourists staying in Las Vegas’ hotels?

    Why not mention that the tax in question is a tax on tourists?

    1. I guess you just didn’t want to mention that the proposal is about a tax on tourists staying in Las Vegas’ hotels?

      Who do you think is going to pay the new taxes they have to implement when revenue projections fail to materialize? Oh, I know, we’ll just pass a new tax on the tourists and pretend like it’s still free, right you fucking retard? This moronic point was moronic the last time you made it, and repetition isn’t helping it. When future tax revenues are used to secure a billion dollar bond, it’s public financing even if you really, really, REALLY want your pony.

  14. Here’s some actual data:

    “The current plan calls for a 0.88 percent hotel room tax increase along the Strip, and a half percent increase to the room tax elsewhere in the 25 miles surrounding the proposed stadium.

    . . .

    An increase would mark a modest jump to the closely-guarded county room tax, which varies from around 13 percent for Strip properties to 10 percent at the lowest. The largest chunks of tax revenue are directed toward K-12 education (38.7 percent) and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (32.1 percent), a private-public agency focused on tourism and managing a 3.2 million square-foot convention center.

    . . .

    Stadium backers point out that the proposed 0.88 percent room tax increase is large enough to cover 1.5 times what it would take to repay the flat $750 million operating cost, which they say guards against a future recession.

    . . .

    If all proposed hotel taxes increases are approved, Vegas’s room tax rate could increase from 12.9 percent to 14.28 percent.

    That’s about on par with the rate in New York City (14.75 percent) and behind Chicago (17.4 percent), San Francisco (16.64 percent) and Houston (17 percent).”

    http://www.politifact.com/neva…..-remain-p/

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    1. OMG, and all you had to do was set up a webcam and take off your top?!

      Maybe you and your best friend should pay for the new stadium.

  16. In regards to the Culinary Workers Union’s objections to the stadium, in addition to them apparently not having a rent seeking requirement in the new stadium proposal that prevents the stadium from hiring anyone but their Culinary Workers Union members, the union is also backing a proposal to ” invest” taxpayer money from hotel room taxes in the Las Vegas Convention Center–where they apparently already have a rent seeking agreement that restricts employment to their union’s members.

    See this news post from the Culinary Workers Union supporting taxpayer funded expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center here:

    http://www.culinaryunion226.or…..ax-support

    Apparently, the union doesn’t want an increase in the hotel tax to pay for a new stadium–because they want an increase in the hotel tax to that finances their members’ bloated paychecks at the Las Vegas Convention Center and to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center necessitating the hiring of more union members through rent seeking.

    Argue against the stadium if that’s what you want to do, but let’s not carry the Culinary Workers Union’s water for them.

    1. For the lazy:

      “The Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee, made up of industry leaders and elected officials, has recommended the convention center’s expansion. We hope the Legislature will adopt its proposal. We have, on multiple occasions, urged the committee to not recommend public funding for any venture, such as an NFL stadium, that could be funded privately by the proponents of that project. This is particularly important when using public funding for an expensive NFL stadium ? for a team that may or may not come ? will slow or even stop the convention center expansion. The convention center’s expansion should be a top priority.”

      “Convention center is most deserving of tax support”
      Culinary Workers Union Local 226

      http://www.culinaryunion226.or…..ax-support

      Yeah, thank God the Culinary Workers Union is there to protect us from wasteful public spending.

      LOL

      1. From what I’ve read, essentially the CWU wants a piece of the gov’t loot (i.e. support the convention center because we know that they’ll hire us) but are pouting because they don’t trust an NFL team to use their labor and their labor only. Typical.

        1. Yeah, they apparently want to make public financing contingent on the stadium restricting itself to only hiring CWU members–which is like the agreement they already got on public financing for the Las Vegas Convention Center.

          1. But hey, we could just tack a 2% “CWU employee benefits” tax on “the tourists” and then it’s free, right Ken?

      2. BTW, Ken, you might be my favorite poster on here. I wish that I could have the patience to filter facts out and do legitimate fact-checking like you do.

  17. Battle Over Publicly-Financed Las Vegas Stadium Heats Up
    Sheldon Adelson and NFL’s Raiders run into opposition from conservative tax watchdog group and Nevada’s largest labor union over proposed stadium.

    …and why shouldn’t the lowly plebian class give their ill-gotten gains for a new NFL stadium?
    Don’t they realize these multi-millionaires in the state of Nevada hit the skids and now can only afford six luxury homes, eight luxury cars, ten first class vacations to Hawaii, Europe, Aruba, etc? Doesn’t the little people understand their money for the stadium will save the rich and shameless enough money to purchase Switzerland? Doesn’t the hoi poiloi appreciate the savings the wealthy of that state will be able to keep for themselves and donate it to the political whore of their choice? Doesn’t the taxpayers of Nevada realize having the vested rich interests that want the stadium built would make these wealthy interests pout, cry and poop their diapers?
    It just goes to show the conservative tax watchdog group and Nevada’s largest labor union over proposed stadium have no compassion for those willing to spend other people’s money.

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  20. i like sandoval, but he should know better.

    1. Sandoval is a cunt. Ask him how all those Tesla Gigafactory jobs are working out in exchange for the 300 million tax break. Dude’s never seen a cronyist publicly-financed project he didn’t love.

      1. Got any links on what’s going on there?
        I despise Musk, but was happy he told CA politicos to stuff it in preference to NV.

  21. I’m not a Las Vegan but hope they tell all of the NFL to move to the middle east and get the Arabs to finance the moves and stadiums. The SF QB would have a swell time in Afghanistan. Once there were none or one or two TV’d football games a week. Now there are a 10? And the coverage gets worse and worse. One talkathon after another. Goodbye and don’t come back.

  22. The public won’t share in the stadium’s profits.

    Come on. How are politicians supposed to enrich their rich supporters if they can’t screw over everybody else?

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