Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Mayor promises to cut Metro subsidy to Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are already soaking taxpayers to the tune of $10 million in sales taxes from non-hockey events that the state quietly authorized them to take. Mayor Karl Dean swears he did not know anything about the soaking, but he now promises to fix the situation:

Dean has said he plans to reduce Metro’s subsidy of the Predators, which is worth an estimated $7.8 million this fiscal year.

The new state legislation, sponsored by Sen. Thelma Harper, would take revenues from the state portion of the sales tax collected at non-hockey events at Bridgestone Arena, as well as the $2,500-per-game privilege tax paid by visiting hockey players, and put those funds in the hands of the Metro Sports Authority. But the legislation is just a placeholder “caption bill” at this point, and an equivalent bill has not been filed in the House yet.

Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the administration hasn’t discussed the details of the proposed change with the Predators yet. He said the city “needed to get a bill filed” before the General Assembly’s session got much further along.

The Predators and their sister company, Powers Management, which operates the arena under contract with Metro, would still be able to use the state money. But the arrangement being proposed – similar to one in Memphis – could offer more transparency for taxpayers.

Hizzoner will have to cut quite a bit of Metro's hockey entitlements to the welfare queens down at Bridgestone to make up for the revenues that Metro has missed and will miss because of the state's irresponsible agreement. Remember the good old days when former Mayor Phil Bredesen promised us pro sports would lavish sales taxes even from non-sport events on our budget if we built an arena & attracted a hockey team?

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