AZ legislators not actually all that stoked about approving $1b-plus in sports subsidies

So it turns out that giving Arizona Coyotes owner Anthony LeBlanc $170 million in state tax breaks to move from one part of the Phoenix area to another and also approving as much as $375 million in tax breaks for any other pro sports team that wanted a new stadium isn’t so popular in the Arizona state legislature after all. Or at least, isn’t quite popular enough to get a majority, probably:

A plan that would provide $225 million in public financing for a new $395 million Arizona Coyotes arena likely does not have the votes to pass the state Senate, key lawmakers told The Arizona Republic/azcentral Thursday.

Sens. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, and John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said they definitely were going to vote against the plan, while Minority Leader Katie Hobbs, D-Phoenix, said there is little support among the chamber’s 13 Democrats. Meanwhile, Senate President Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, said he had “serious reservations” about the plan that would allow the National Hockey League team to build an arena in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley.

The utter stupidity of such a plan aside, this points up the political difficulty of getting state support for the subsidy deal: In addition to it becoming a partisan political issue (the sponsor of the bill is a member of the state’s Republican majority), there are regional splits as well, with West Valley legislators of both parties opposing a bill that would likely be used to subsidize a move of the Coyotes out of Glendale, which is in the West Valley. (Peoria is adjacent to Glendale, though Fountain Hills is in the East Valley.) Add in any legislators who are just opposed on the principle that throwing over a billion dollars at your state’s sports teams for no damn reason is a terrible idea — hey, it’s always possible — and the bill is “on life support,” according to the Arizona Republic.

Not that it won’t eventually happen, in some form. (You know how politicians love to haggle.) But it looks like it’s going to take a few more strands of spaghetti thrown at the wall before one of them sticks.

12 comments on “AZ legislators not actually all that stoked about approving $1b-plus in sports subsidies

  1. It may not be dead yet.
    As with politics, it is all about the connections.

  2. If the Coyotes decide to stick it out in AZ in the near term, I suspect that the Salt River Pima Maricopa location may be their best and last shot. You’ve got the Tribe that is receptive, you’ve got interested private developers, and the location is approx. 12,13 miles from the Phoenix metropolitan area, an easier drive than Glendale. If the possibilities for government assistance are not totally closed, the Coyotes, w/ a request for less $$$ from the legislature, a contribution of developer $$$, and their usual nickel and dime contribution, just may push a new facility over the finish line.

  3. Remember Sen. Bob Worsley when he is up for re-election. This is how he wants to spend your tax dollars. Haven’t the Arizona Coyotes fleeced enough of the Arizona taxpayers money? Taxpayers are done with the Coyotes saga and unless they are willing to stay in Glendale or share a new downtown facility with the Phoenix Suns it is time for them to relocate.

  4. State Representative Anthony Kern has been a major opponent of the the bill. He and other local activists are fighting to keep the team where they currently are, adding that tax payers are still footing the bill for the arena, not to mention businesses around it will suffer if the Coyotes move and the arena competes with more venues for other shows.

  5. The Salt River Tribe is not going to let themselves be fleeced. If it’s a good deal for them it would have already happened. But since that avenue looks to be a very dark dead end (heavens forbid a white guy getting scalped by Indians, let alone sharing equitably revenue), it’s up to the AZ State legislature to make yet another bad deal for the taxpayers.

    • Agree. The tribe’s leaders are not in the business of giving away the tribe’s money for nothing. Which makes them smarter than our state legislators.

  6. Shot: Clock: Could they leave? Latest on Coyotes’ arena situation’-arena-situation/98491150/

  7. SB1149 is scheduled for its vote in the AZ Senate, tomorrow, Feb 28 at 1:30 p.m., local time

  8. SB1149 has been pulled from today’s voting.
    I would expect a lot of fallout from this later today.

  9. Arizona voters to Coyotes: Stick it out in Glendale

  10. Representative Anthony Kern will be holding another press conference on
    Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

  11. I think Glendale should double their rent. The Coyotes have been milking Glendale for years. It’s clear now other city wants to get stuck with them, not even the Indians tribes.
    Who’s got who by the short hairs now?