Milam’s Vegas sports complex would use tax dollars

Remember how I wondered last week whether Texas developer Chris Milam, who was proposing a $1.95 billion privately financed sports complex in Las Vegas, had something up his sleeve? Well, now Milam has shown his cards:

Investment banker Morgan Stanley is seeking to raise revenue through bonds that would be leveraged against the creation of a special taxing district that must be approved by state lawmakers. The proposed district would draw a line around the 63-acre site and would bond against the tax revenues generated by the project, the source said.

Yup, it’s a straight-up TIF. So when Milam says “privately financed,” he apparently means, “a private financial firm would sell the bonds, and taxpayers would pay them back.”

I actually should have suspected this last week, as Milam proposed a similar funding scheme last year, when all he wanted to build was a basketball arena. That’s the same time that he declared that “we have an NBA team under contract” to move once “other pieces of the puzzle fall into place.” The guy certainly does seem to have a knack for outrageous claims — but then, he is from Texas.

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