Plan pitched to spend hotel taxes on arena

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 - 12:36 pm

Sacramento hotel owners are considering a plan to generate $1 million a year for the proposed downtown sports arena, officials said Friday.

The complicated, still-evolving plan is tied to a potential expansion of the Sacramento Convention Center.

Brian Larson, chairman of the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, said an expanded Convention Center could yield as much as $5 million a year in new hotel occupancy taxes.

Currently, the hotel tax goes mostly toward renovations of properties like the Convention Center and the Community Center Theater. Members of the City Council have swatted down proposals to earmark some of the hotel tax dollars to the proposed arena.

But the plan floated by Larson, by increasing the pool of hotel tax dollars, could make $1 million a year available for the arena without harming other projects supported by the hotel tax.

"We're trying to expand the pie," he said.

He added that officials are still trying to devise a funding plan for an expanded Convention Center.

City officials are trying to put an arena funding plan in place by March 1, the deadline set by the NBA, or risk losing the Sacramento Kings. The hotel money would be a small part of the package. The bulk of the $387 million would come from a proposed quasi-privatization of city-owned parking spaces.

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