published Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Local lawmakers balk on Chattanooga Lookouts legislation

Poll
Should the city buy AT&T field?
  • Yes. 35%
  • No. 65%

482 total votes.

NASHVILLE — A local bill enabling Chattanooga to potentially purchase AT&T Field won’t be passing the General Assembly this year.

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said he discussed the issue with House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Hixson, and the decision was made not to go ahead the legislation.

“It’s just not going to run this year,” Watson said.

The bill would allow the city issue state sales tax-funded bonds in order to buy the stadium. Current team owners, who also own AT&T Field, are trying to sell the Lookouts.

At issue is whether a potential buyer might be interested in buying the team but not willing to take on the additional cost of purchasing the stadium.

“I think they were looking at some potential strategies of how they might decouple the stadium from the team,” Watson said, noting, “I really haven’t been that close to it.”

The bill envisioned the city issuing bonds to purchase the stadium and using state sales taxes on Lookout ticket sales, parking and concessions to help fund the bonds.

“It wasn’t a priority for the city,” Watson said, noting Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield’s focus was on anti-gang legislation.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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