KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A bill aimed at helping to pay for the proposed downtown Knoxville stadium and entertainment complex is headed to the governor’s desk.
The amended bill was passed in the Tennessee Senate on Wednesday with 27 votes that pushed it through.
The original legislation would have allowed new sales tax revenue generated within a quarter mile from the center of a new stadium to be captured and used to pay down debt for the public stadium, including 98.5 percent of state tax revenue captured in the quarter-mile radius. The remaining 1.5 percent was set to go towards education.
The amended, and now passed, version omits the quarter-mile provision. That change followed a move by Governor Bill Lee to include $13.5 million in his budget to go toward the sports complex. The legislation does allow the joint city/county sports authority to make more revenue from the stadium.
State Senator Becky Duncan Massey (R-District 6) explained existing law already allowed some stadium projects to capture sales tax specifically from sporting events, but the amended legislation extends the provision to any event inside the stadium, including concerts, festivals, or other events.
1.5 percent of tax revenue from stadium events will still go towards education.
The project proposed in Knoxville is estimated to cost $65 million from public money and another $100 million from private investment. It’s expected to be completed within the next two years.