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Sacramento arena funding plan still elusive

Sacramento KingsA solid funding plan for a new Sacramento Kings (NBA) arena continues to confound local political and business leaders, who are still working to come up with the money for a $387-million downtown facility.

There’s a general outline in place: the Kings owners and users (in the form of ticket surcharges) will pay a thid of the cost of a new arena, private interests (probably in the form of an arena manager) will pay a third and government will pay a third. To say there are a boatload of holes in this equation is an understatement: it’s not clear whether a new arena (complete with site remediation and increased freeway access) can be built for the relatively low figure of $387 million, there’s no obvious source of government revenue (especially given that area cities say they won’t contribute to the effort), and the cost doesn’t include other infrastructure work in the area. Also, the city is really the only body that that guarantee any bonding for the project, and anyone issuing the bonds is going to want to see some form of income stream dedicated to debt service.

The biggest issue, and the one local officials have absolutely no control over, is the wretched state of economic development in the state of California at the moment. The state launched a preemptive strike against city and county redevelopment agencies and basically seized future revenues to balance the budget. The move is being challenged in court, but until the situation settles Mayor Kevin Johnson and other local officials have an extremely limited of tools at their disposal, especially when voters have already rejected some of the most obvious solutions, like a local sales tax.

The city has until March to present a workable arena plan to the Kings and the NBA. The way things are going right now they’ll need every minute.

RELATED STORIES: Sacramento officials push arena idea — but no funding plan; Kings to share financials for arena research; Kings to stay in Sacramento for ’11-’12; Will Kings move? No one seems to know; Report: Kings likely to stay in Sacramento for ’11-’12; Kings relo app deadline pushed back to May 2; Anaheim to discuss aid for Kings; Maloofs shoot down Arco refurb; Kings: From boom to bust; With Kings eying Anaheim, Johnson vows to continue arena quest; Maloofs sell naming rights to arena; admit to looking at moving NBA’s Kings; Johnson: We’ll take another run at new Kings arena; NBA: We’re done with Sacramento arena effortsConsultant: It makes no sense to move Cal Expo as part of arena project; Maloof: We’re not looking at move to Seattle; Size of Arco Arena site threatens Kings arena deal


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