New Titans stadium, grocery tax pause, vote machines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican state lawmakers peppered Gov. Bill Lee’s finance team with questions Tuesday about its proposal to authorize $ 500 million in bonds to help the Tennessee Titans build a new enclosed stadium. Some said the request caught them by surprise, since they approved a tax break for the team’s planned stadium upgrades just last year.

The Titans stadium bond proposal was among the new items that the GOP governor’s team presented to lawmakers, seeking their signoff to fund the priorities in the upcoming budget.

Other big-ticket proposed additions include $ 80 million for a one-month break from state and local grocery taxes; $ 78.1 million to boost airports; $ 20 million to help Memphis waterfront development on the Mississippi River; $ 20 million to reduce privilege taxes paid by a handful Lawmakers are mulling whether to require the of types of professionals; $ 17 million to help renovate a Nashville raceway hoping to land a NASCAR race; and $ 15 million to put toward new voting machines that produce a paper trail of votes in 61 counties without such equipment. equipment.

But lawmakers centered attention on the new proposed home for the Titans due to officials going from trying to modernize the existing Nissan Stadium to working on plans for a new stadium right next door after renovation costs more than doubled to $ 1.2 billion.

Butch Eley, the governor’s top deputy, told lawmakers the money would go toward a new covered stadium, saying $ 2 billion is in the ballpark of the total cost. Whether it’s a fixed or retractable roof, having an enclosed facility could help Nashville compete for the biggest events in or outside of sports, from the Super Bowl to the NCAA basketball Final Four.

Eley said he wants the state to be less invested than the Titans and Nashville’s government combined.

The push comes as the Buffalo Bills landed an agreement Monday for a proposed $ 1.4 billion new open-air stadium, fueled by a record $ 850 million taxpayer price tag to help secure the franchise’s future in the region for the next 30-plus years.

Both funding setups are already drawing skeptics who don’t think the government should be helping to fund pro sports facilities. The Beacon Center of Tennessee and Americans for Prosperity of Tennessee, which both prioritize free-market policies, came out against the Titans plan.

“The only break regular Tennesseans can expect is a one-month grocery sales tax holiday,” Americans for Prosperity Tennessee State Director Tori Venable said. “Don’t add insult to injury by giving away taxpayer resources to the benefit of a select few.” “

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