GOP tax plan could derail Raiders’ Las Vegas move

When the Raiders announced their intentions to move from Oakland to Las Vegas in March the team gutted the collective hearts of its longtime, devoted fan base.

Those fans have continued to show up in force, taking apparent solace in the fact that the black and silver will remain in the East Bay for at least two more years.

Now, the franchise’s latest move is in question, put in jeopardy by a GOP-introduced tax plan which President Donald Trump claims will be approved by Thanksgiving. Part of that tax plan would disallow tax-exempt bond usage for professional sports stadiums, putting in doubt funding for the Raiders’ $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat proposed stadium in Las Vegas.

Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analytics, representing the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, told Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the authority accounted for many possible difficulties in the stadium’s funding, but not this:

“The stadium, as designed, appears to meet the definition of a project that could not use tax-exempt bonds. That could potentially affect the financial models we have been using in estimating the potential cost of the project. The extent to which that is is unknown.”

As written into the proposed tax code, under the heading “no tax-exempt bond for professional stadiums,” the provision says:

“The term ‘professional stadium bond’ means any bond issued as part of an issue any proceeds of which are used to finance or refinance capital expenditures allocable to a facility (or appurtenant real property) which, during at least five days during any calendar year, is used as a stadium or arena for professional sports exhibitions, games or training.”

If passed, the new tax code would not negate the Raiders’ move to Nevada, though Aguero said it would make the stadium’s funding much more expensive, cutting possible yield and forcing the Raiders and NFL to reconsider the move.

The authority’s next planned meeting comes Thursday, and Aguero told the Review-Journal he is uncertain whether or not the tax provision will be among the topics discussed.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Raiders beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.