The Atlanta Hawks owners want to build a big L.A. Live-style entertainment district around their soon-to-be-renovated arena, because of course they do. And along with the maybe $150 million they’re looking for in arena renovation subsidies, they want the entertainment district to get tax breaks, too, because duh.
The sales tax break was amended onto House Bill 937, which extends a tax break for major business expansion projects – such as the Falcons stadium and Baxter International’s plant near Covington – in the Senate Finance Committee…
State legislation to extend a rental car tax could also be required to help clear the way for the project.
If I’m reading the legislation right, the sales tax break would be on construction materials, which is a common enough giveaway to big development projects that’s not worth a ton — the sales tax rate in Atlanta is 8%, so even if half the project cost is for materials, that’s still only a kickback of 4% off the total cost — but does raise the question of why legislators are convinced that nobody will build anything ever without getting sales tax knocked off their bill. The rental car tax, which was originally passed to fund infrastructure around the arena, is likely worth more to the Hawks owners, but it’s targeted for “infrastructure” again, though we don’t know what that means yet, or it could go to pay for arena improvements, too.
So basically we have no idea what any of this will look like or who will pay how much for what, but the state legislature is voting on tax breaks for it regardless. Good ol’ Georgia.