Join Marcos Lopez as he discusses the second special session this year:
- How the Oakland A’s bill was able to pass through the legislature;
- Which senators voted against the deal; and
- What last-minute amendments were made to the bill to get it passed.
To keep updated throughout the week on what is happening in Carson City, visit Nevada Policy’s bill tracker at nevadapolicy.org/bill-tracker.
Read the Transcript
Welcome to Under the Dome, presented by Nevada Policy. I’m your host, Marcos Lopez, your Outreach and Coalitions Director. Today we’ll cover the extra innings of the special session and really chart the timeline from where we left off on our last recording this past weekend to where we are today on the stadium deal and its trajectory.
On Tuesday, June 13th, the state Senate voted 13 to 8 to pass the stadium subsidies for the Oakland A’s to move to Las Vegas. It had bipartisan opposition with three Republicans and five Democrats in opposition.
I think the following Senators deserve recognition for voting against the stadium: Pete Goicoechea, Ira Hansen, Dallas Harris, Dina Neal, Rochelle Nguyen, Melanie Scheible, Pat Spearman, and Robin Titus.
The following day, on Wednesday, June 14th, the state Assembly voted 25 to 15 with two legislators excused in not voting to send the bill forward to the governor’s desk. We only had 4 Republicans voting against it and 11 Democrats. I find that these corporate welfare issues are always very illuminating of who is most committed to their principles regardless of party.
So how did we get here? It was really three items. First was the skirting of the two thirds requirement. By making sure that there were no taxes in this bill, there was no leverage on the two-thirds requirement for individuals to hold out to make this legislation passed.
As we know, the public financing and vision in this bill had $180 million in transferable tax credits, which can be sold by the A’s to other businesses for cash, and a projected $120 million in county bonds, and these bonds would be repaid over 30 years through tax increment financing.
The second thing was the re-add of two vetoed bills that the governor vetoed earlier this year. The first one would require all rail and monorail projects to comply with prevailing wage, something that we know increases the cost of public construction by upwards of 40%.
The second bill that he vetoed that was added back in was the bill relating to state tax abatement, saying that if your business had more than 50 employees and you’re receiving some form of tax credit or tax subsidy, then you had to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family leave and medical a year.
And the final part to get this passed was the community benefits package. So, the community benefits package was all sorts of different requirements that the Oakland A’s would have to meet in terms of their contribution back to the community.
The first one was making sure that their contracting was diverse. And diverse means that it was small, local women or minority-owned businesses are working on this, and that there were provided living wage to all of its employees within the actual stadium. It’s important to note that they never actually defined what a living wage is.
The second component was the community engagement portion, making sure that they were giving money to education, sports, such as little leagues, scholarships, and that they would include a community suite for local nonprofits, which obviously means nonprofits that are politically connected that can take advantage of that.
And lastly, it was the actual financial commitment that the Oakland A’s would have to give every single year. It would total to $500,000 every year during construction. And then once it’s finally completed and they moved in, they would have to give either $2 million a year or 1% of revenue, whichever one is higher.
All of this led to get enough votes to be able to get this across the finish line. And yesterday, Governor Lombardo signed this on June 15th. Of course, this doesn’t end here. This was a crucial part to get it. But even in the language, if you look at the bill, it always says if it is approved.
And now this is one of the things, right? The last hurdle for this to really go through is the Major League Baseball League has to approve the move of the Oakland A’s, and that would have to be done through a majority vote of the current owners.
So, in conclusion, while it’s disappointing that so much political capital was spent on the financing of a stadium that we know the economic research is clear that this is a bad investment for the state, we need to also recognize that overall, this has been a generally net positive session for the state.
Lombardo’s record this session considering the hand that he was dealt was fairly decent. There are still bills on his desk. We’re waiting to find out the fate of, and our tracker is being updated on Nevada Policy. But the amount of veto so far coming through have been positive. There has been a bunch of bad legislation that has been stopped.
We will send out an email when our final legislative count is in, in terms of the vetoes and signatures from the governor. And you will be updated to make sure that you can visit our policy to see the biggest wins that we’ve had this past session.
We will continue to have these regular updates. We’re probably moving them to a monthly update, just recapping the interim committees and any other major developments within the executive branch and any regulatory matters.
We will have an end of the session wrap up webinar coming in the future. So, stay tuned to your email to make sure you RSVP to that. And lastly, we will have our scorecard and legislative report card coming out, which will be printed and released later in the year.
Before we go, I would like to encourage everyone to check out this past week’s Free to Offend podcast, titled The Policies Driving Our Water Scarcity in the West. We all know that water is a contentious issue here, particularly in Nevada and everywhere else that kind is dealing with our current droughts.
However, Katherine Wright, who is a research fellow at the Property and Environmental Research Center and a water policy expert is not all gloom and doom. I find this to be one of the best podcasts that we have done on Free to Offend. I encourage everyone to check it out as we discuss different solutions with her to be able to solve our current water crisis.
So, thank you so much and I hope you all take care.
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Under the Dome: This Week in Carson City
An in-depth analysis of what is going on in Nevada’s government.
Produced by Nevada Policy,
featuring Nevada Policy’s Marcos Lopez.