The Knoxville city council voted 8-1 last night to ask the state legislature to create a sales tax increment financing district to siphon off state and local sales taxes from a swath of downtown and put them toward paying off a $65 million Tennessee Smokies stadium.
And … really, that’s about all I’ve got on this one, given that the only news outlet that seems to have reported on the council vote seems to be the dreaded WBIR. How big a swath of downtown? Has anyone done a study to confirm that the sales-tax money would actually be new revenue, and not just taxes on spending relocated from elsewhere in the city or state? (Moving baseball spending from the Knoxville suburbs to downtown Knoxville seems an especially zero-sum prospect for state legislators, whose approval is required for this plan.) What are the plan’s prospects in the legislature? And so on.
I’m getting tired of posts here that just complain about how bad local news reporting has gotten, as I’m sure you have too, but sometimes that’s the only option — I don’t have the resources to independently research every sports subsidy deal ongoing right now, though I’ll see what more I can find out about this one. I’m deeply concerned about how the gutting of journalism is making it impossible for democracy to function, because it’s increasingly hard for anyone to tell what even to call their elected representatives to yell at them about. And no, the rise of a few Substack celebrity pundits isn’t going to help much with getting city council hearings covered properly.
Anyway, tl;dr: Handing over $65 million in tax money to the University of Tennessee’s president/invisible dog fence plutocrat took another step closer to reality last night. All else is ¯_(ツ)_/¯.