Vegas area residents don’t want to give any tax money to Raiders stadium, let alone $950m

KTNV in Las Vegas polled Clark County voters last weekend on whether they’d approve using public tax money on a new NFL stadium to bring the Oakland Raiders to town, and the results were an overwhelming nuh-uh:

Fifty-five percent of voters polled in Nevada’s largest county said they’d oppose pledging up to $500 million in public funds to help finance a stadium that could potentially bring an NFL team to Las Vegas, with 35 percent in favor and 10 percent undecided.

This is in no way surprising, since public opinion usually is against using tax money for sports venues, at least before any major public ad campaigns have been run, though that 20% margin is pretty large. Also not surprising: One of the execs at the company that would get the public boodle says it’s all a problem of how the question was phrased.

Las Vegas Sands executive Andy Abboud responded to the survey results, saying that voters respond more favorably to the proposed stadium when they learn more about how the tax would be structured.

“The survey question leaves out critical information,” he said in an emailed statement. “Specifically, the public funding would come from an increase in the hotel tax, which is predominantly paid by those visiting Clark County, not its residents.”

First of all, no, hotel taxes belong to Clark County residents, just like any other kind of taxes — once they’re paid to the county treasury, you can use them for anything you want. (And it’s not like even taxes on out-of-towners are free money: If you raise them too high, visitors start staying away from town.) Second of all, no, that’s not where all the public funding would come from, since the deal also includes about $250 million in tax increment kickbacks of sales and business taxes paid in and around the stadium.

Would a more precisely worded poll be better? Yes! Would the results be any different? Probably not! Is any of this going to matter to the elected officials who are going to decide this without a public vote? Who knows, though Deadspin does hope that the specter of Tim Lee’s dead political career will haunt them, or at least give them pause before they approve an outlay of $950 million that their constituents aren’t in favor of.

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20 comments on “Vegas area residents don’t want to give any tax money to Raiders stadium, let alone $950m

    1. Good point.
      It’s a TV station poll, of only 750 residents (more or less). Any of us could probably find 260 people in favour of anything we choose to ask in Las Vegas… or any other major centre.

      Who knows how many were annoyed to be called and gave no thought whatsoever to their answer either (though this could work against the proposition every bit as much as it worked for it).

  1. Abboud is 100% correct.

    Neil, you’re ignoring the countless stadium polls that have shown the exact results that Abboud is taking about. “Would you be in favor of using hotel taxes to provide funding towards the construction of a stadium, if attracting an NFL team were assured?” The numbers would flip completely.

    1. So playing word scrabble with turn the polls the other way in favor of public money going towards a stadium. You think that low of the people of Vegas? Lol

    2. Full disclosure would result in something like: “We’re thinking about raising the hotel tax to raise $X million annually. Should it be used to build a football stadium or for something else (including the possibility of lowering your taxes)?”

    3. And don’t forget Ben that if the Raiders move to Vegas it’ll finally put the city on the map!!

      1. But gee whiz…..they are already on the map!!!

        Jokes aside….anyone in Las Vegas who would fall for this crooked scheme, has had their brains bake in the sun too darn long. Instead….direct the funding to necessary items for the residents of the city, as well as tell Davis and his cadre of crooks to pay for this on their own.

    4. Maybe the poll would flip. But the cost keep increasing in Vegas. The best I can determine from reading the Las Vegas Review-Journal the stadium was going to cost 1.4 billion dollars, 50% privately funded and now it is going to cost 1.7 billion. But neither the Raiders or Adelman seem to want to increase their contribution. A provision for the taxpayers to provide 7.5 million dollars a year for maintenance seems to have been added.

      Will a one percent hotel tax be enough?

  2. Since when does Public Opinion matter in stadium and arena giveaways? The public rarely gets to vote on these things, and the only time the result matters is when the vote is “yes.” This is a discussion about absolutely nothing.

    1. If that doesn’t matter that’s perfectly ok. But it goes to show that it’s not a rabid Raider fan base there like some folks would like to push.

  3. I’m certain Abboud is correct.

    If the question had been phrased as “Give the Raiders $10Tr in tax dollars – that will all come from someone else, not you, no matter who you are or where you are reading this – and we will end world hunger, all wars, disease and human aging”, I think it would have passed too.

  4. I bet the owner of the NHL-expansion is sweating this. Lose the market, before you even play a game.

    1. It would hurt corporate sales certainly, and make it harder to find sponsorships (the NFL can vacuum up corporate dollars like no other entity I’ve encountered…). I’m not sure there would be a great deal of crossover in ticket buyers, however… always assuming there will be any ticket buyers for the NHL in LV (with the Raiders or without)… which I’m not sure there will be.

  5. As a resident of Nevada I cannot state strongly enough how much I oppose public money from ANY source being diverted to this project. Mark Davis is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and his team has a value of two billion dollars in today’s market.. The NFL has a fund that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars toward new stadium construction. Sheldon Adelson, the point man for this project, is worth in excess of 28 BILLION dollars. Can someone explain to me why they can’t afford to build this stadium without public money? Not why they don’t WANT to–if they can sucker somebody into paying for something so they don’t have to, of course they will. When did corporate welfare morph into guaranteeing profitability for the richest among us? Such is the myth of the self-made man, or woman, in today’s capitalism.

    1. Well said, Ted.

      We know why they don’t want to build it themselves (and won’t): because doing so makes no financial sense. It only “works” if someone else picks up the tab…

      Hopefully Vegas officials kick these scumbags to the curb, but I’m not holding my breath… it’s rarely happened in the sports cartel extortion game.

  6. Of course wording makes all the difference. That’s not in question. The question is does the revive accurately ask the question. If the question was “shall we use $950,000,000 that rained down from heaven to make an ordinary millionaire into a billionaire” you might get mixed results. Of course if you wasted a similar question like “would you rather use $950,000,000 that rained down from heaven towards making an ordinary millionaire a billionaire OR to improve local schools” the schools would win. Or perhaps “would you rather use $950,000,000 that rained down from heaven to make ONE ordinary millionaire a billionaire or use it to reduce your taxes – well, I think we also know what would win. These are real choices. As a Nevada taxpayer who would not benefit from this project I find it a ridiculous waste of reaources to use money for an unnecessary stadium than the multitude of problems we already have in this State.

    1. That’s the real cost of millionaire subsidies: Lost opportunity. Excellent points, TR.

      John Washington

  7. I am a Oakland Raider season ticket holder. If they charge an increased tax on rooms. I for one will never see Vegas again. EVER!

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