Sacramento County is looking at a one-eighth-cent sales-tax hike to pay for a variety of projects, including a potential new Sacramento Republic FC stadium.
Republic FC launched this season with a strong showing at the gate while playing temporarily at Hughes Stadium, averaging 20,000+ per match. The team is moving to another temporary facility at Cal Expo, this one seating 8,000 and financed by concessionaire Ovations.
But this long-term play is a new Sacramento Republic FC stadium, preferably downtown, which would cost $125 million. And while the majority of funding would come from private financing, there could be a public component as well, according to county officials. A one-eighth-cent sales-tax hike would raise estimated $25.3 million in the first year, and those proceeds would be used to fund a variety of county projects.
Passing a sales-tax hike will be hard, however:
Organizers want to place it on the November ballot, where it would need a two-thirds supermajority to pass, but first they have to get the county Board of Supervisors to sign off on the plan. The tax increase would be open-ended and wouldn’t expire.
Proponents say they hope to build broad political support by spreading the revenue to a multitude of programs, including the B Street Theatre relocation project and the proposed Powerhouse Science Center north of downtown. Other nonprofits could apply for funding, and millions would flow to local governments throughout the county….
Sacramento political strategist Doug Elmets, who isn’t involved in the proposal, said the idea faces difficult odds. “They have their work cut out for them,” Elmets said.
Funding toward a new Sacramento Republic FC stadium would be capped at $3 million a year and end when the stadium debt is paid off. In a short time owners have proven interest in the team, which presumably could translate to new Sacramento Republic FC stadium. But public funding of a sports facility is a tricky issue: Public money for a new Sacramento Kings (NBA) arena has raised considerable opposition, and you can expect more if a sales-tax hike actually makes it to the ballot.