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New Lincoln arena would be funded by restaurant, hotel taxes

Out-of-towners are the tax target for those seeking to build a new downtown Lincoln arena.

A new downtown Lincoln arena would be funded partially by out-of-towners, as proponents lay out plan for increased hotel and restaurant taxes.

The plan calls for a 4 percent tax on hotel/motel bills and car rentals and a 2 percent bar and restaurant tax. Those visiting Lincoln would be paying as much as 20 percent of the tab for the new arena, which would serve as the home of the University of Nebraska men's and women's basketball teams as well as special events like concerts and the state boys' basketball tournament.

The proposal also avoid raising property taxes to pay for the facility.

The plan is for a $350-million, 16,000-seat seat arena and entertainment complex in downtown Lincoln's West Haymarket district, an area that could use a shot in the arm. The reason for reviving the project: the University of Nebraska needs to decide whether to pursue their own new arena for the men's and women's basketball teams or work with the city on this project.

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