Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2018

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Gov. candidate Schwartz: Eliminate tax money for Raiders stadium


Rendering of the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium as seen from the Strip at night. Construction on the 65,000-seat stadium will begin in November and will be completed in time for the 2020 NFL season.

State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican candidate for governor, said Wednesday that if elected, he would try to eliminate $750 million in Clark County hotel room-tax revenue earmarked to help pay for the Raiders stadium in Las Vegas.

Schwartz, speaking on Nevada Newsmakers, said he’d rather redirect that tax money toward Nevada’s sagging public education system.

Schwartz said he would hold up funding for roads and freeway on- and off-ramps the stadium needs if the tax money were not cut from the $1.8 billion project.

“Yeah, the deal is going to have to be recut,” Schwartz said. “And you are saying, ‘How are you going to do that?’ And you are right, I can’t go interfere with a contract.”

“But what I can do is that the state is in charge of the roads. And I can say, ‘You want to go to the Raiders stadium? Well, you can get there on roller skates because I ain’t building any roads,’” he said.

Click to enlarge photo

Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz speaks with the media after an event Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Las Vegas. Schwartz announced that he'll run as a Republican for governor in Nevada.

Schwartz joins Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Giunchigliani, a Clark County commissioner, in opposition to using tax money for the stadium. The money for the stadium was overwhelmingly approved by the state Legislature during a special session.

“Why are we taking $750 million in public funds when we have the worst schools in the nation and using it to effectively pay for a stadium for a group of guys who are billionaires?” Schwartz asked.

“I’m not saying there should not be a stadium,” Schwartz said. “I don’t mind building a $1 billion stadium. That’s the point. We don’t need to spend $2 billion dollars on the Taj Mahal of stadiums.”

Besides the revenue from the room tax, the stadium is being funded by $850 million from the Raiders and a $200 million NFL loan the team will repay. Clark County on Wednesday sold bonds for the stadium project that will be repaid via the room tax.

The stadium is expected to be ready for the 2020 football season. UNLV will also play its home football games at the new stadium.