Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Stadium Bill Revised By District

By Eric Fisher
The Washington Times
November 3, 2004

District officials will nearly double the top-end fee to large city businesses in the gross-receipts tax, considered the dominant funding source for a new ballpark, according to a revised version of the stadium bill.

In a series of sweeping changes to the legislation that will be voted upon this morning by the D.C. Council's finance and economic development committees, the highest annual fee will soar from $28,200 per business to $48,000. Rather than use the extra money to retire the stadium construction bonds early, which would follow typical District fiscal policy, the additional funds will funnel into a community benefit fund proposed last week by Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

That community benefit fund, originally designed to generate money from a tax-increment financing (TIF) district around the proposed stadium in Southeast, is now slated to be supplied by both TIF revenue and extra money from the gross-receipts tax collections. The fund, now projected at $450 million over a 30-year span, would help support libraries, recreation centers and other city amenities.

But even with that benevolent goal in mind, the changes, resulting from a flurry of high-level meetings in recent days, are angering many trade groups around the city. Businesses are being targeted to provide $26 million a year, up from $24 million. The changes, however, could extend the stadium bond repayment period by as many as 12 years.

Read the entire article here on the Washington Times website