Predators to give up secret $2m tax subsidy in exchange for new tax subsidy?

Very strange story out of Nashville, where the Predators may be on the verge of giving back some of a $2 million a year subsidy that nobody even knew they were getting.

Under a new lease first agreed to in 2007 in order to keep the team in town, the city agreed to give the team a $750,000 rent break, a share of non-hockey revenue at their arena, and kick back some of the sales taxes collected at hockey games to the Predators owners — an amount projected to total $4.2 million a year. However, the Predators apparently also got the state legislature to pass a bill redirecting sales taxes from non-hockey events to the team — without asking or even telling their city landlords.

Predators CEO Jeff Cogen now says that the extra $2 million a year in cash was vital to the team — “It put the Predators on solid financial standing that there is no risk of them going anywhere” — and simultaneously that not getting the extra $2 million a year won’t hurt the team at all — “It will challenge us to operate more efficiently and we are up for the challenge.” Of course, he also didn’t say that he’d agree to give up all the money without getting something back — only that the team is working on a new deal with Mayor Karl Dean that will involve less taxpayer money. So long as there aren’t any more hidden clauses, that is.

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