Nathan Deal: Dollars for new stadium ‘belong to Atlanta’

He didn’t give it his endorsement, but Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday laid out some arguments likely to be used by supporters of a new, $1 billion stadium that would serve as a new home for the Atlanta Falcons.

First of all, the governor told my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein that he wants the team to stay put. “I think it’s important for us to keep the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. We are proud of them, and they’ve had a great year, and we’re hoping they’re going to go all the way to the Super Bowl.”

Critics of a new stadium point out that the Georgia Dome is only 20 years old. But the governor said that if a new stadium doesn’t replace it, expensive updates would be required. “We do know the existing stadium, even though it looks very good now, within the not too distant future there will be significant repairs and upgrades that will be needed to maintain the current Dome,” he said.

As he has before, Deal said his involvement in the matter was limited, and refused to say whether he wanted the measure to pass. But the governor again tossed out some strong hints.

“That’s not a judgment call that I make. It is a legislative matter. I certainly think that having a billion-dollar investment, the majority which is private money … is certainly something that is desirable for our state,” the governor said. “I think the city of Atlanta and the mayor in particular share the view that this is critical to the downtown area as well. There are a lot of things at play, but it does come down in very difficult economic times [to] convincing the Legislature … as to whether or not they want to do it.”

But the most important thing the governor did today was cast the decision as one that should yield to local – i.e., Atlanta – sentiment. “I think there’s another important fact that sometimes gets over looked,” he said. “The dollars that will be collected and used to pay off the bonds for a new stadium – these are really dollars that belong to the city of Atlanta and Fulton County because they come from their local hotel-motel tax. These are not dollars that flow into the state treasury.”

Additionally, the governor implied that the issue would be pressed this year, despite the fact that the issue polls dismally. “In talking with the Falcons, they believe this is a time-critical issue,” he said.

As the governor spoke, a Senate committee was engaged in a fast-moving attempt to defuse the explosive “hospital bed tax” issue to fill a Medicaid gap. One long-time lobbyist we spoke to said he never saw such a large issue taken up on only the second day of a session.

Two thoughts on that:

– The new alliance of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Senate President pro tem David Shafer will probably be never stronger than it is today. That’s one reason for moving quickly, and probably the most important.

– But also consider that, if state lawmakers are allowed to dodge the “bed tax” bullet, they’re more likely to accept the risks attached to a vote approving a rebuilt Georgia Dome.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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113 comments Add your comment

James

January 15th, 2013
4:53 pm

This is one Fulton resident that is NOT interested in a new stadium.

Bob Loblaw

January 15th, 2013
5:04 pm

@James:

Not interested? Easy. Don’t rent a hotel room in your own county. Let the guests that are coming anyway buy the State a new stadium.

yuzeyurbrane

January 15th, 2013
5:19 pm

Shaffer should abstain from voting; he is on the Board of the Georgia World Congress Center. Voters, make a list and check it twice come next election. Remember who sold themselves for a few pieces of silver (or season’s tickets, etc.)?

nathan's political arsonist

January 15th, 2013
5:35 pm

let them do it. November 4, 2014

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 15th, 2013
5:37 pm

It’s going to be a moot point come Sunday after the 49′ers blow the place up.

Dave

January 15th, 2013
5:49 pm

Bob Loblaw, sarcasm aside, I’d rather let our guests buy us some repairs on roads, a few hundred million or so worth. If the Falcons want to move to the Burbs or out of state its okay with me. Our guests as you call them, with or without the Falcons in town, might quit coming if a few fall into the Gulch when one of the ancient bridges collapses. Sorry, sarcasm there.

Arthur and Nathan and the rest of the boys will get their new stadium regardless of what people think. That doesn’t make it right or a good idea.

Quira

January 15th, 2013
5:50 pm

This is TSPLOST all over again.

Kris

January 15th, 2013
5:54 pm

I sure wish that somebody would explain these “significant repairs and upgrades that will be needed to maintain the current Dome” to the public. Sounds like a bunch of bull to me. It’s not as if the Georgia Dome is rusting from the inside out.

dc

January 15th, 2013
6:14 pm

So is “investing” (taking tax money from one bucket, and spending it somewhere else) a valid govt function? Of course it is, happens all the time (schools, roads, police, etc). So, the real question is, is it valid to take from one bucket, and spend on a private enterprise (the falcons)?

Not easy, I don’t envy the folks who vote on this, and then have to face the voters. They need to very clearly and carefully communicate their rational for this, if approved.

The Olympics were a great model…..maybe they can make the case for this one as well??

kirbang

January 15th, 2013
6:15 pm

Aesop’s Fables and other Lib Economic Theories: I agree with you. Reality has a liberal bias.

But back on topic. Really 1 billion dollars. Chop the top off. Hire Lexus to put a convertible hard top on it and plant some grass. Hire every craftsman in the Atlanta region. Re weld, paint upholster install levitating box seats and give the box holders free Varsity for life. It couldn’t possibly approach 100 million dollars.

Cutty

January 15th, 2013
6:17 pm

It’s the City’s money, why would local control conservatives be against this? Other than because it’s Atlanta.

The City will get the money back via a Super Bowl, BCS Championship game, couple Final Fours, etc. Kasim does need to come up with a sound plan to address this ratchet infrastructure around town.

Shine

January 15th, 2013
6:28 pm

Crazy me, I thought the money in my pocket before I signed for a motel room was mine. Piss on Blank, the Falcons, and the Governor.

soxman

January 15th, 2013
6:30 pm

Doesn’t he mean “dollars for new stadium belong to Arthur Blank?”

Kris (original)

January 15th, 2013
6:42 pm

nathan’s political arsonist “”let them do it. November 4, 2014 “”

Shady deal meet your replacement in 2014

{{ The disgraced former South Carolina governor, who drew national headlines in 2009 after disappearing for several days and later tearfully admitting to an extra-marital affair, will run for Congress }} Well he has demonstrated he has no ETHICS.

Are you proud crooked deal, take money from sick people and the poor and help GA rise from 48th in education to 50th. All for a place for a loosing football team to play in.

Bye Nate 2014

bigbill

January 15th, 2013
6:53 pm

Here is what I absolutely do nor understand: how can these conservative Republicans (and many Democrats) decry and oppose any and all government attempts to assist the poorest of the poor in our state, criticize the food stamp program, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, claiming all these are manifestations of socialism, while at the same time support the transfer of $300 Million in taxpayers’ funds to one of the wealthiest businessmen in our state, billionaire Arthur Blank, the owner of an incredibly profitable and valuable private entertainment-sports company, the Atlanta Falcons? And that too is not a manifestation of socialism? Socialism for the rich? That’s OK? Really?

Kris (original)

January 15th, 2013
7:01 pm

bigbill “” transfer of $300 Million in taxpayers’ funds to one of the wealthiest businessmen in our state”"

I agree well said, however IO also read 300 Million to 500 Million Which is true?

Looks like the unmarked envelops arrived Early at the Gold Dome of Crooks…

Political Mongrel

January 15th, 2013
7:02 pm

I’m curious about the assertion that funding will come from the hotel & motel tax. Really? NO other sources? Somehow I’m not particularly trusting on that.

Dave

January 15th, 2013
7:09 pm

Political Mongrel, as I understand it the stadium, without infrastructure, will cost a billion bucks, 30% tourist tax and 70% Blank/NFL. But, Mayor Reed has said the infrastructure will cost another $200 million, which means it will cost more than that. I don’t know where that is coming from. The collective “us” I guess.

An observer

January 15th, 2013
7:16 pm

The point is that the hotel/motel tax revenues will not be sufficient to pay off the bonds, and then what happens?

Dave

January 15th, 2013
7:21 pm

I think the $300 million is enough, assuming the estimate of cost is accurate. If it isn’t, it’s “our” stadium, I assume we, not Arthur Blank, pay the overrun. Do a Google search on the new Miami stadium – bunch of bucks spent and being spent by taxpayers, not the team owner.

Rafe Hollister

January 15th, 2013
7:32 pm

Weaseling words from Nathan. What he was saying with all that verbiage was, we are going to build it, to heck with what the people want, and we are going to find a way not to be held accountable for our actions, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

hiram

January 15th, 2013
7:42 pm

No one has explained how Natha Deal, who narrowly escaped personal financial ruin by making amateur business decisions – and only escaped because of his position, and still hasn’t admitted to knowing what the guy he loaned $600,000 did for a living – which makes either his competency in business, or his honesty, even more questionable – is qualified to provide intelligent input in a business decision that is a thousand times more complex. Who is dumb enough to pay attention to anything he says on the subject?

Church of the painful Truth

January 15th, 2013
7:56 pm

Everyone enjoy the game Sunday,because the new stadium is a done DEAL.All this talk about bonds,hotel-motel tax,state funded or city of Atlanta funded is a moot point. It all took place two years ago in a closed door meeting.Enjoy the New Stadium that will named after someone connected in politics.

td

January 15th, 2013
7:58 pm

Talk about the uninformed voter. Here are some truths.

1: This new stadium will guarantee a Super Bowl in Atlanta and will guarantee the continued SEC Championship game. It will also bring in more NCAA basketball tournaments. This will bring $100’s of millions if not billions of dollars into the city.

2: This is not taxpayer money. It is bond funds that will be paid back by increasing the hotel/motel tax in Atlanta, so it will be paid off by out of town guest and not Georgia taxpayers.

3: These types of bonds can not be put forth to pay for normal state functions like welfare spending…

So if the city does not build it then it is lost money coming into the city.

Please continue with your discussion with a few facts.

td

January 15th, 2013
8:01 pm

An observer

January 15th, 2013
7:16 pm

The point is that the hotel/motel tax revenues will not be sufficient to pay off the bonds, and then what happens?

Do you have any facts to back up that statement?

Need a new broom for a clean sweep

January 15th, 2013
8:03 pm

When people move in their dealings faster than is normal it tells you that they are up to no good and they hope you will not catch onto them in their crooked deeds.

Vote them out!

Dave

January 15th, 2013
8:08 pm

td – you wanted facts, some facts from bloomberg.com, trusted by capitalists everywhere. Check out how similar Jerry Jones’ finances for the new Texas stadium are to Mr. Blank’s plan for our new edifice.

Dave

January 15th, 2013
8:08 pm

Lee

January 15th, 2013
8:23 pm

Let’s see, the GWCC, the STATE authority charged with overseeing this complex is a STATE agency. While the current financing structure depends heavily on the hotel tax, what happens if the Falcons go bankrupt, or $300 million becomes $600 million?

That’s right, Atlanta will want the STATE to come riding in on a white horse and save their butt.

Tell Blank to shove it. If he wants to take the team elsewhere, go ahead.

BTW, the city of Atlanta probably should worry more about filling some of those potholes and getting a couple of traffic lights to syncronize.

Ralph Christian

January 15th, 2013
8:37 pm

“Significant repairs” for a building that is only 20 years old??? More BS spewing from the mouth of (not my governor) NoDeal!!!

R U Kidding Me?

January 15th, 2013
8:56 pm

I certainly think that having a billion-dollar investment, the majority which is private money … is certainly something that is desirable for our state,” the governor said

How about the I-75/I575 managed lane project Gov. deal? That was a $1B project that had 70% private money, with 100% of the financial risk being on the private sector and not on the taxpayers. But you killed that deal.

Kris

January 15th, 2013
8:57 pm

Crooked “taxation without representation” Deal and the gop slime in the Georgia Legislature, how quickly they forget what happened in November 2012
.
Lets call the new dirty done deal the “”“taxation without representation”” blank stadium.
Just a reminder the GOP slime got their slime balls kicked. Looking forward to 2014.
Lets start a recall right now.

Timeout

January 15th, 2013
9:07 pm

Shafer equals Oxendine; Be careful!!!!

4DaBirds

January 15th, 2013
9:08 pm

I love the Falcons and I hope a good resolution is coming. Meanwhile, I think it is very low class to try and rain on the Falcons playoff run with negative press.

td

January 15th, 2013
9:12 pm

Lee

January 15th, 2013
8:23 pm

“BTW, the city of Atlanta probably should worry more about filling some of those potholes and getting a couple of traffic lights to syncronize.”

False argument since the city can not raise the money from a hotel/motel tax for road projects.

Dave

January 15th, 2013
9:15 pm

td, I won’t bet the farm but I’m pretty sure the tax can be used for road projects as they keep the tourists coming.

td

January 15th, 2013
9:16 pm

You all do understand the lost money and lost jobs in the city, surrounding areas and the state if this does not get approved?

td

January 15th, 2013
9:20 pm

“Local governments imposing a Hotel/Motel Tax are required by state law (as a condition of continuing authority to impose the tax) to file a Hotel/Motel Tax Report for each fiscal period during which the tax is imposed. The first page of the Report includes the local government’s Hotel/Motel Tax rate, the amount of revenue collected, and the amounts expended for various purposes. The second page of the report is a schedule on which specific projects that were funded for the promotion of tourism, conventions, and trade shows (or other tourism related purposes) must be listed along with the amount expended and the contracting entity for each project.”

http://www.dca.state.ga.us/development/research/programs/hotelmoteltax.asp

td

January 15th, 2013
9:21 pm

Dave

January 15th, 2013
9:15 pm

td, I won’t bet the farm but I’m pretty sure the tax can be used for road projects as they keep the tourists coming.

I doubt that it would fly and held as following the law by the AG’s office.

What

January 15th, 2013
9:21 pm

Deal can’t even control his appointees. How can we trust him to run a state? When they ignore his stated policies and he ignores it, is it incompetence or corruption? In either case, do you then trust him to protect the state during the building of a new Dome?

Buckhead

January 15th, 2013
9:23 pm

Arthur Blank has said repeatedly and the GWCC memorandum of understanding states that Blank and the Falcons will cover any cost overruns.

Buckhead

January 15th, 2013
9:23 pm

Arthur Blank has said repeatedly and the GWCC memorandum of understanding states that Blank and the Falcons will cover any cost overruns.

Buckhead

January 15th, 2013
9:23 pm

Arthur Blank has said repeatedly and the GWCC memorandum of understanding states that Blank and the Falcons will cover any cost overruns.

Dee

January 15th, 2013
9:24 pm

If they want a new stadium then the money that comes into the stadium should first be used to pay back on the bonds, whether it takes 4 games or 3 seasons. The bed tax is a joke because it still will be the same folks coming to the game.

Bob Dylan

January 15th, 2013
9:26 pm

Good Point. Easy enough to calculate. How much revenue did the hotel tax generate in 2010, 2011 and 2012? Compare that to 300 million. Also apparently these stadiums are only good for 20 years, so bill will have be paid in that time period. 15 million per year? Maybe the AJC could do some basic Jethro Bodine math on this.

Foncused

January 15th, 2013
9:30 pm

@td, stop trying to convince the ignorant Tea Party imbeciles. Facts get in the way of their arguments so they conveniently ignore them. You have articulately laid out the LAW and what those dollars that are paid by visitors to our city can be used for. Unfortunately you and others who base decisions on facts and not emotions, will get blasted and attacked.

The reality is, and some of you can stick your head in the sand if you want and sing la la la la la with your fingers in your ears, those dollars that are collected cannot be used to fix potholes or pay for other general government expenses. They are restricted in use and can only be used to promote tourism and tourism industries. Period end of story.

Foncused

January 15th, 2013
9:32 pm

And shame of the lawmakers and legislators who either out of ignorance or malice perpetuate the false information that the dollars are “our” tax dollars. They are only “our” tax dollars if we are staying at hotels in Atlanta and paying the hotel/motel tax.

Those tax dollars are NOT funded by property tax, sales tax, occupational taxes, or any other tax paid for by businesses or residents in the city UNLESS they are staying in a hotel in Atlanta/Fulton County.

Hopefully, one day, people will base decisions on facts and not on emotional dribble . . but alas, I am not holding my breath.

Kris

January 15th, 2013
9:43 pm

Shady Deal and the Legislature looking out for themselves…another example.

THIS MONEY BELONGS TO THE DEFRAUDED CITIZENS….

State legislators and Gov. Nathan Deal will spend $104 million of the $815 million banks are paying Georgia to settle foreclosure fraud claims, but if past indications hold true, much of that money won’t be going to distressed homeowners.

The discretionary cash will likely be spent on other areas of the state budget, as is money from Georgia’s settlement with tobacco companies and millions of dollars in directed fees that Georgians pay yearly.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/funds-for-defrauded-homeowners-diverted-by-state/nQR6p/

deal begone 2014

A.B. Normal

January 15th, 2013
9:49 pm

@Buckhead, BS.
@Buckhead, BS.
@Buckhead, BS.

A drunkards ramblings

January 15th, 2013
9:56 pm

So to recap..
All cost overruns are covered by the Falcons and NFL

The hotel/motel tax cannot be used to fix our schools/potholes/homeless/buy unicorns

This is not a new tax but a continuation of the existing tax that is currently paying the bonds on the dome.

The new stadium will not be built until the debt on the dome is paid off.

Only people that stay in hotels in Atlanta are paying for the debt coverage.

If you don’t stay in a hotel in Atlanta in the next few years then you have no skin in the game and if you’ve stayed in one the last few years then one of those line items will be the same

So, I fail to see where all the consternation comes from?