SBD/6/Facilities Venues

SIX TEXAS SPORTS TEAMS JOIN TO BACK ARENA BILLS

     Six professional teams in Texas have joined an effort to
back state legislation that could help finance or renovate arenas
or stadiums.  The Mavericks, Stars, Cowboys, Rockets, Oilers, and
Spurs have formed the Pro Sports Association, a group that will
push bills to "allow cities to create special tax districts
around sports facilities."  The teams state the districts are
needed to keep teams in the state, and help attract large events
such as the Super Bowl, Olympics, and All-Star Games to the area.
Two state lawmakers have sponsored tax zone bills which would
allow municipalities to create special "sports facility
enterprise zones" around an arena or stadium.  Such a zone would
"spur development" by offering tax abatements and other
incentives, and any tax revenues could be reinvested in the
facility or used to pay off bonds that financed it.  The money
"would be managed by a sports authority that the state and
municipality would appoint jointly" (Sylvia Martinez, DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 4/5).
     A KEY TO DALLAS' DOWNTOWN?  A full-page editorial in
yesterday's DALLAS MORNING NEWS focuses on "Downtown Dallas" and
possible ways to revitalize the city.  On a downtown sports
arena, the paper urges city officials to "pull out all the stops
to make sure professional sports remain in downtown Dallas."
Legislation that "would permit the city to assess fees and taxes
on arena users is a step in the right direction" (DALLAS MORNING
NEWS, 4/5).
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