LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Republican governor and the Nevada State Legislature took turns throwing political fastballs in each other’s direction Thursday in the state’s capitol.
At issue in Carson City, where the legislature is in session until June 5, is whether Democrats – who hold the majority in both chambers – will entertain a bill outlining financing for the Oakland A’s baseball team moving to Las Vegas.
The democratic leadership said they would not even consider such a bill until they see a budget because the A’s deal would require state and county funding totaling $300 million in public funds, sources told the 8 News Now Investigators. Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo has threatened to veto a budget if his priorities are not met – including certain education bills.
“If the Governor forces us into special session because he vetoes the budget we will not consider any other bills that session except the state budget,” Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said.
State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro said it is impossible for the legislature to approve tax credits – which would likely comprise some of the public funding required to bring the A’s to the proposed site of the state-of-the-art ballpark being discussed on the site of the Tropicana Hotel, which is owned by Bally’s.
“It’s difficult, if not impossible to say ‘here’s what we’re going to approve for tax credits’ when we don’t even have a budget because we’re really not sure where that stands,” Cannizzaro said.
But Lombardo fired back. In a statement, he said: “If they choose to test my resolve, I’ll make it easy for them. The people of Nevada hired me to protect their interests and that is what I intend to do.”
Previously, State Sen. Scott Hammond, a Republican from Las Vegas, told 8 News Now he thought the legislature would be able to review and vote on a bill concerning the proposed stadium before the end of the session, but he did say a special session was possible. Wednesday Hammond said he is “hopeful we’ll have something by Friday,” and that lawmakers would need 24 hours to review a bill before acting on it.
On Wednesday, Hammond told 8 News Now he’d seen plans for a new ballpark at the Tropicana site, and “it’s going to be amazing,” calling it “glorious.”