Georgia Governor Nathan Deal confirmed Tuesday that he and Atlanta Falcons team officials are trying again to reach a deal on the financing of a proposed new downtown stadium for the team. WABE’s Denis O’Hayer reports.
The talks hit a snag last week, the Governor asked the Falcons to reduce the size of their request for the public share of the money—from $300 million to $200 million. Tuesday at the State Capitol, the Governor said the Falcons’ $300 million request seemed, as he put it, “like a little bit of a high number.”
“Many people recognize the validity of what they (the Falcons) are advocating,” the Governor said. “And my concern is to save the taxpayers, in terms of their commitment to the taxpayer side of the agenda.”
A revised deal for a new stadium currently is being negotiated whereby the Georgia Legislature would not have to vote on increasing the bonding capacity of Georgia World Congress Center to $300 million.
Currently negotiations are underway at the Governor’s mansion between Gov. Nathan Deal, the Atlanta Falcons and the City of Atlanta where the bonding capacity would shift from the state to the city.
No matter which governmental entity would end up issuing the bonds for the $1 billion project, the deal would not change substantially. The $300 million bond package would continue to be backed by the existing hotel-motel taxes that are collected in the City of Atlanta. The Falcons and the National Football League would cover two-thirds of the stadium’s cost.
The major change with this arrangement is that the state legislature could be bypassed altogether. There has been vocal opposition to a new stadium deal among certain legislators, and several polls have shown that there is not much support for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium throughout the state.