Utah Jazz owners the Larry H. Miller Group are planning a $125 million “major renovation” of their arena, and they’re actually going to pay for it with their own money! Except the part that won’t be paid for with their own money:
The price tag for the renovation has been set at $125 million, with the vast majority ($102.3 million or 82 percent) being funded by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.
The remaining $22.7 million (18 percent) will come from public funding if the organization’s proposal to Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency next Tuesday is approved in that group’s monthly meeting…
If given the thumbs-up, the public finding would be delivered via intermittent payments over the course of the next 25 years, perhaps sooner, through the city’s Tax Increment Reimbursement mechanism.
Yep, that’s a TIF, or at least a variant on one, since only 40% of the added tax revenue (some of which would come from property taxes on properties other than the arena) would get kicked back to the team. It’s not a huge subsidy, to be honest — though it would be nice to know if the city still has to pay the $22.7 million if property tax receipts do not, in fact, go up — but the Koch Brothers–funded Americans for Prosperity is still opposing it, asking, “Why are we giving multi-billion dollar corporations tax dollars to build or renovate arenas?” (The Kochs themselves have only gotten multi-hundred-million-dollar tax breaks.)
Holding the line on any tax breaks isn’t a terrible idea, especially since there’s no indication that the Jazz would skip out on the renovations or move or set off a thermonuclear device or anything if they were denied the TIF funding. The Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency is set to hold a hearing on the proposal at 1 pm today; at least take solace in the fact that unless there are other hidden subsidies here we don’t know about — always possible! — at worst the Miller family is going to be paying for 80% of a fairly cheap renovation, which as these things go isn’t too bad at all.