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Louisiana lawmakers won’t commit on Superdome renovations | State Politics – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-10-21 16:46:00 –

Louisiana legislative leaders assemble $ 63 million in debt for Superdome’s oversight committee on Thursday as a key element of Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration signing a new deal with New Orleans Saints I opposed the exemption plan.

The Bond Commission’s discussion of its proposals and other ideas to guide state funding to the Superdome refurbishment did not bring a solution. It’s unclear whether state legislators will pay Edwards’ promise that Louisiana will cover $ 90 million of the $ 450 million in stadium improvements.

Treasury Secretary John Schroeder asked whether Congress would agree to fund some refurbishments that remained unresolved more than two years after the Democratic governor announced the deal. It seemed to be indignant.

“It’s time to make a decision,” said a Republican treasurer, who chairs the Bond Commission. The Superdome manager said, “We need to be able to make plans. We need to give them an answer.”

So far, the state has promised about $ 3 million to upgrade the Superdome, with an additional $ 25 million approved through the state’s construction budget, but not guaranteed.

The contract for the next phase of construction work “cannot be signed without some certainty in the flow of income,” said Governor’s chief budget adviser, Jay Dardenne.

The Edwards administration proposes that $ 63 million comes from exempting the outstanding debt owed by the Superdome Oversight Board, Louisiana Stadium, and Expo District. The bond committee needs to approve the debt relief, and the committee’s Cortez and other lawmakers resist the idea.

Cortez said he believes debt forgiveness sets a bad precedent. However, he said he was not completely closed to finding an approach to fund the refurbishment of the Superdome, and that the saints wanted to stay in Louisiana.

“I want to work to fix this,” said the Senator.

He’s struggling to get information about the early completed stages of superdome refurbishment funding from the Louisiana Stadium and Expo District, and the state spends $ 90 million when other funding is available. He said he did not understand the urgency of paying.

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“I have no relevant facts,” Cortez said.

The Superdome improvement plan calls for the state to cover $ 90 million in refurbishment, Saints to invest $ 150 million, and the Louisiana Stadium and Expo District to pay $ 210 million.

A $ 450 million upgrade to a nearly 50-year-old iconic stadium in downtown New Orleans will bring New Orleans saints with expanded club and suite levels, new shops, observatories, and other improvements. It was part of a plan aimed at maintaining. Until 2055.

“Their leases depend on this,” Dardenne said.

The state’s current lease with the NFL team will expire in 2025, but saint owner Gale Benson has promised to keep the club in New Orleans for the long term.

Louisiana sits in a large state surplus, along with billions of dollars in unused federal pandemic bailout aid. Part of that money could be used to improve the stadium. However, Mr. Dardenne said the legislative decision on whether to spend these dollars on the Superdome would take too long and could disrupt construction plans.

The debt owed by Louisiana Stadium and the Expo District has arisen since 2013, when the state refinanced a previous loan used to restore the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina. The district pays the state annually until 2039.

Dardenne wants the Bond Commission to support the November debt forgiveness idea. The Edwards administration, Cortez and other lawmakers said they would meet on the issue before next month’s meeting.

However, some legislative leaders have questioned whether the state should pay to improve the stadium. Republican Lafayette Stuart Bishop has suggested that he believes people prefer spending millions of dollars on road construction over “better suites in the Superdome.”

Louisiana lawmakers won’t commit on Superdome renovations | State Politics Source link Louisiana lawmakers won’t commit on Superdome renovations | State Politics

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