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Bill to boost Saints revenue revised to benefit Zephyrs

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Bill to boost Saints revenue revised to benefit Zephyrs Plan would waive tax on tickets, food Wednesday, June 15, 2005 By Ed Anderson Capital bureau BATON ROUGE -- A tax bill designed to funnel revenue to the New Orleans Saints ...

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Old 06-16-2005, 09:00 AM   #1
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Bill to boost Saints revenue revised to benefit Zephyrs

Bill to boost Saints revenue revised to benefit Zephyrs
Plan would waive tax on tickets, food
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
By Ed Anderson
Capital bureau
BATON ROUGE -- A tax bill designed to funnel revenue to the New Orleans Saints football team was rewritten Tuesday to give the New Orleans Zephyrs a sales tax break the AAA baseball team has been seeking.

Without objection, the House Ways and Committee sent House Bill 807 by Rep. Bryant Hammett, D-Ferriday, to the full House for debate. The original bill sought an increase in the hotel-motel tax in Orleans and Jefferson parishes from 4 percent to 5 percent and the imposition of up to a 10 percent tax on tickets to Saints home games and other National Football League events at the Superdome.

But without a new Saints deal in place, Hammett, a floor leader for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, let one of his bills be overhauled to shift taxpayer money to the Zephyrs, then took his name off the bill and made Rep. John Alario, D-Westwego, the chief sponsor of the measure.

The amended bill would exempt tickets, food items and souvenirs at the Zephyrs' games from the state's 4 percent sales tax and Jefferson Parish's 4.75 percent sales tax. The waiver of the Jefferson Parish sales tax is contingent on the state sales tax waiver, backers of the bill said.

Fiscal analyst Robert Hosse said the state would lose about $124,000 in sales tax revenue under the plan and that Jefferson Parish would lose about $146,000.

Walter Leger, Zephyrs vice president and general counsel, told the panel last week the baseball team is the only professional sports franchise in New Orleans that pays taxes on its concessions and tickets as well as rent in its state-owned ballpark.

Similar exemptions are given to the Saints, the Arena Football League's New Orleans Voodoo and the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets.

Leger said the bill is tightly drawn to apply only to Zephyr Field and no other minor league parks in the state.

He said the Zephyrs pay rent of $60,000 to $100,000 a year to the Superdome Commission, the state agency that oversees the state-owned ballpark. The rent varies, he said, based on attendance and concession sales. The Saints, Hornets and Voodoo do not pay rent at the Superdome or New Orleans Arena, he said.

Zephyrs owners have spent $6 million paving the parking lot, paying off bonds and making stadium improvements for the past eight years, expenditures the commission should pay but cannot because of fiscal constraints brought about by its obligations to the Saints, Hornets and other expenses, Leger said.

The tax breaks would apply only to Zephyrs baseball games. Patrons at nonbaseball events at the stadium would have to pay the sales taxes.

Andy Kopplin, Blanco's chief of staff, said since there is no chance of striking a new deal with the New Orleans Saints now, none of the tax bills Hammett filed to help raise money for the team will be moved at this session.

. . . . . . .


Ed Anderson can be reached at eanderson@timespicayune.com or (225) 342-5810.


http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/capital...6766273060.xml
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:29 AM   #2
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RE: Bill to boost Saints revenue revised to benefit Zephyrs

Zephyrs owners have spent $6 million paving the parking lot, paying off bonds and making stadium improvements for the past eight years, expenditures the commission should pay but cannot because of fiscal constraints brought about by its obligations to the Saints, Hornets and other expenses, Leger said.
Isn't it nice to see an owner willing to put up his own money and to help out to keep a franchise where it is?
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:49 AM   #3
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I second that. Wow. No way the Zephyrs make as much as the Saints, and these guys come out their own pocket for upgrades? I know it doesn't cost as much to put on a Zephyr game as it does a Saints game, but jeez. Benson is in a payment free building where he keeps all the revenue, and wants to contribute zero to changes he wants. Sad.
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