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Arizona bill to limited public funding for stadiums appears to have died

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Senate bill that would have limited public funding for professional sports stadiums, ballparks and arenas in the state appears to have lost steam.

Senate Bill 1453, which is sponsored by Sen. Warren Peterson (R-Gilbert), was introduced on Jan. 30.

If signed into law, it would have prohibited money in the state’s general revenue fund or subsidies to be used for the “construction, maintenance, promotion or operation of a professional sports stadium.”

The purpose of the bill was to “prevent the use of taxpayer dollars for private professional sports stadiums and facilities by removing the ability of teams to use the threat of relocation to use taxpayer dollars to build their stadiums.”

But the bill appears to have failed after being held in the Commerce and Public Safety Committee earlier this month, according to The Glendale Star.

The bill was introduced in response to teams such as the Arizona Coyotes threatening to move from their respective hometowns, which would leave the city with “an empty arena and millions of future debt payments.”

In addition to the bill receiving little support in committee, it has also been opposed by many business and tourism groups in the state, including Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association.

The publication said these groups have opposed the bill because “they see public spending on such facilities as a way to invest in bringing tourists and help improve economic growth in the state.”

The Valley has already been home to multiple major sporting events, which continue to cost Arizona each year.

University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale has hosted two Super Bowls, college football playoff games and the Final Four game within the last decade, which have been mostly funded by voter-approved taxes, the publication said.

However, Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps did not directly approve or oppose the bill. But Thomas Atkins with the City of Peoria, which is the spring home to the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, questioned the bill.

“Because of the nature of the bill, the prohibition on taxpayer-funded stadiums would not have gone into effect until 24 other states enacted this exact language into law,” Atkins told the publication. “It is difficult to determine when, or if, other states would enact this language.”

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