After Day One, A Test Of Stamina And Will In Carson City
It wasn't exactly a peaceful ending to the first day of the legislative special session.
The session's focus is primarily on three areas: an NFL stadium, a convention center expansion and a sales tax increase to pay for more police officers. The lawmakers must consider:
- Senate Bill 1: Calls for a 0.88 percentage-point room tax increase in the Clark County room tax to finance $750 million in bonds over 30 years for the 65,000-seat domed stadium. The family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has pledged $650 million toward the deal. The Raiders have committed $500 million.
- Another 0.5 percentage-point room tax increase would finance $400 million of a $1.4 billion upgrade and expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
- Assembly Bill 1: Allows the Clark County Commission to raise the county sales tax by one-tenth of a percent to hire more officers
KNPR's Joe Schoenmann is in Carson City covering the special session all week.
"Like special sessions before, it's a test of stamina and will," Schoenmann said. "People look confused, frayed and tired. But this is a big, big issue."
In just a few days time, 63 citizen legislators must conclude on the bills that total more than $3 billion. On day one, testimony was heard from some of Nevada's most powerful business leaders.
"Nothing has happened in 49 years that compares to the opportunity that professional sports reprints," said Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts. "To have these sports in Las Vegas is the final cornerstone in the future structural stability of Nevada.
Proponents testified for nearly 4 hours.
But some are speaking out against the stadium.
"The bottom line is that we're potentially going to provide a $750 million taxpayer handout to a multi-billionaire who does not need it who could easily pay for this project from his own pocket," said state senator Ruben Kihuen. "That's my biggest concern here."
House Majority Leader Michael Roberson is allowing one hour of opposition testimony Tuesday.
Joe Schoenmann, co-host, KNPR's State of Nevada