SBD/Issue 41/Law & Politics

Decision 2006: Sacramento Arena Funding Measures Defeated

Sacramento Voters Defeat Sales
Tax Measures For New Kings Arena
The sales tax measures to fund a new NBA Kings arena in downtown Sacramento “went down to a crushing defeat” yesterday, according to Vellinga & Hardy of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Measure R, which called for a quarter-cent sales tax increase in Sacramento County, failed 80%-20%, while Measure Q, a companion to Measure R that “asked voters to bless spending up to half of the $1.2[B] raised” on a downtown arena, was defeated 72%-28%. In the wake of the defeats, leaders of the Yes on Q&R campaign announced the formation of a new nonprofit, “led by the same business leaders who spearheaded Yes on Q&R, to continue pressing to get an arena built downtown.” However, NBA Exec Counsel for Business & Finance Harvey Benjamin said that there is “no alternative arena financing plan at the moment, and several previous attempts to come up with one have failed.” Benjamin: “The Maloofs are committed to staying in Sacramento if they possibly can, and there’s certainly no interest on the part of the NBA in moving the team. But we can’t figure out what to do next.” Kings co-Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof in a statement said they would “seek guidance from the NBA and hope they can provide suggestions about alternative means of achieving our objectives in Sacramento” (SAC. BEE, 11/8).

REAX: A SACRAMENTO BEE editorial states, “Only the die-hards were willing to increase the county’s sales tax by a quarter cent for 15 years. The rest of the community was simply either confused or fed up with a billionaire family that walked away from negotiations because city and county officials wouldn’t give them everything they wanted.” Before seeking a solution, “some cold, hard realities will have to sink in with the Maloofs and the [NBA]. This is a unique market in a unique state with very, very high hurdles to pass new taxes. The Maloof style of doing business ... is not a recipe for a successful public/private partnership.” The editorial adds, “Some realities will also have to sink into local political and civic leaders. Translating the community’s affection for the Kings into a new facility will require more skillful leadership than has been on display to this point” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/8).

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