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In Atlanta, local government bodies "must vote all over again" on the city's proposed $213M downtown sports arena "because a key element of the financing has changed," according to Saporta & Unger of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. If the Atlanta City Council, Fulton County Commission or the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority votes it down, the entire "project would be in jeopardy." The change in the plan "affects what had been an important taxpayer safeguard," as the team had pledged all of its revenues to repay arena construction bonds if the facility's income wasn't enough to cover them, which "virtually guaranteed taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for any shortfall." But the NBA now says Hawks players "would have to be paid first." With the salary cap at "about" $25M, that much less revenue would be available back to the arena bonds. Fulton County Commission Chair Mitch Skandalakis: "It seems odd that you would go into this thing not knowing what the NBA's position would be. I'm not happy at all. I think (the new arena proposal) stands little chance of passage from my board." But Michael Coleman, counsel representing the Hawks, said they "have presented to the city and county staff a proposal that we think offers even better protection to the taxpayers" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/29).
The proposal to build a new stadium for the Seahawks "officially became Referendum Bill 48," as the ballot question for the June 17 election was posted and a new poll "suggested the measure would be defeated," according to Ed Penhale of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. The ballot reads: "Shall a public stadium authority be authorized to build and operate a professional football stadium and exhibition hall financed by tax revenues and private contributions?" Chris Van Dyk, of the stadium opposition group Citizens for More Important Things, said as long as the ballot has "the word 'tax' in it, people will know what they are voting on." Football Northwest campaign consultant Bob Gogerty "was uncomfortable with the way the ballot title refers to 'taxes,' but voiced no other complaint." Meanwhile, the April edition of the independent Elway Poll released Monday showed 51% of voters statewide "are inclined to say no" towards a new stadium, with 43% "inclined to vote for it." The Elway Poll surveyed 405 voters with a margin of error of +/- 5% (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 4/29).
A protest "against tax breaks for the wealthy erupted suddenly" in the FL House on Monday as lawmakers denied Wayne Huizenga a "second helping of public money" to renovate Pro Player Stadium, according to Steve Bousquet of the MIAMI HERALD. The 61-50 vote was a "rare, dramatic defeat for one of the most politically connected Floridians," and "ended Huizenga's hopes" of receiving $2M a year toward stadium improvements for 30 years. House Majority Leader Jim King, a Huizenga backer, on the feeling of "momentum turning" against Huizenga: "I told him the debate was not going to be pretty. No matter how you cut it, a lot of members perceive this as giving millions to a billionaire" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/29). In St. Petersburg, Rado & Walsten writes that Huizenga's chief lobbyist, Ron Book "was crestfallen." Stan Smith, a Huizenga spokesperson, said that Huizenga will now consider how to pay for the stadium improvements (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/29).