weather icon Clear

Sandoval will meet with legislative leaders on Las Vegas stadium proposal

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval will meet with legislative leaders next week in preparation for a special session of the Legislature to consider room tax increases to fund an NFL stadium for the Oakland Raiders and improve the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The two-term Republican governor, speaking Thursday with the Review-Journal, said he’s convinced the projects present an opportunity for Nevada to accentuate its standing as a global entertainment, convention and tourism destination.

Sandoval late Wednesday accepted the recommendations of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee and said he will convene a special session sometime between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 to consider the proposals.


The governor met with Raiders owner Mark Davis on Tuesday at his office in Carson City, where the two spoke for about 90 minutes.

“Prior to calling a special session it was important for me to meet with him eye-to-eye and ask him specifically his intent with regard to the Raiders coming to Las Vegas if this were to be approved,” Sandoval said.

“I believe he is resolute in his intent to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas,” the governor said.

Sandoval said that while he has had informal conversations with some lawmakers, “I’m not polling legislators.”

The Review-Journal reached out to all 58 sitting legislators about the proposal on Monday and Tuesday. Of the 27 who responded, more than half said they are still gathering information and have not decided how they might vote. One lawmaker declared opposition.

Sandoval also said he has asked Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development who chaired the infrastructure committee, to brief legislative caucuses at their request and answer questions.

The proposed legislation would increase Clark County’s room tax rate to raise $750 million to finance general obligation bonds for the domed, 65,000-seat stadium. The deal would require the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, Majestic Realty and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to pay the remainder of the construction costs for the stadium, along with any cost overruns.

Adelson has pledged to contribute at least $650 million, while the Raiders would pay $500 million.

The proposal would increase Clark County’s room tax by 0.88 percentage points along the main casino corridor and 0.5 percentage points in outlying areas. The current rate is 10 percent to 12 percent, depending on location and type of lodging facility.

The stadium would also be used by UNLV’s football team.

If the Raiders back out or NFL owners don’t approve the team’s move when they meet early next year, the room tax increase would be scaled back to finance a smaller, 40,000-seat stadium for UNLV, provided $200 million in private donations is raised.

“It’s not just the Raiders,” Sandoval said. Besides providing a new home for UNLV football, a stadium would provide a venue for large concerts and other events, he said.

As legislators prepare to debate the stadium proposal, two recent polls give conflicting views of public opinion on the issue.

A poll by Washington-based WPA Research said 62 percent of likely voters support building a stadium financed in part by an increase in the room tax, while 26 percent opposed it. Twelve percent were undecided.

The survey, which was paid for by Adelson, interviewed 500 likely voters on Sept. 12 and 13. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Meanwhile, a KTNV-TV/Rasmussen Reports poll found 52 percent of Nevada voters oppose raising hotel room taxes to pay for a stadium. It said 32 percent favored the idea and 14 percent were undecided.

The poll of 800 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 16 and 18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Legislators will also consider a 0.5 percentage point increase in the county’s lodging tax to help finance a $1.4 billion expansion and upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“The convention center, that is incredibly important to the future of tourism and hospitality in Southern Nevada,” Sandoval said.

A third measure, called the Clark County Crime Prevention Act of 2016, would authorize the County Commission to increase the sales tax rate by 0.1 of a percentage point to fund more police officers. The tax would generate an estimated $40 million annually countywide.

About 20 percent, or $8 million, would go to the Metropolitan Police Department to hire more officers for the Strip resort corridor. The stadium recommendation also includes annual funding of $4 million for law enforcement, bringing the total to about $12 million, enough to fund 90 additional officers for the resort area.

The rest of the sales tax increase would be distributed to other police agencies within the county.

Sandoval said he has not been approached about adding other measures to the agenda for the special session and he is not entertaining any outside proposals.

This will be the third special session Sandoval has called in as many years for lawmakers to approve economic development projects, which have been a priority for his administration.

In 2014 the Legislature approved a $1.3 billion tax incentive package to lure Tesla to Northern Nevada, where it is building a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory in concert with Panasonic Corp.

In December, lawmakers were called to Carson City to approve $217 million in tax breaks for Faraday Future, which is building a $1 billion electric car manufacturing plant in Southern Nevada.

“I look at it as opportunities,” Sandoval said. “We are investing in our state. We have invested in both the north and the south.”

The upcoming session “is an opportunity to invest in our core industry, which is tourism.”

Next month’s special session will the 30th of the Nevada Legislature in its 152-year history.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3821. Follow @SandraChereb on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Nevada caucus in photos
Best shots from the Review-Journal photo staff's coverage of the Nevada Caucus, Saturday, February 22, 2020.
Bernie Sanders announces his Nevada caucus win to supporters in Texas
At a rally in San Antonio, Texas, Bernie Sanders announces winning the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Joe Biden addresses supporters in Las Vegas
Joe Biden energizes a crowd of supporters at the IBEW Hall in Las Vegas after the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Tweet highlights from the 2020 Nevada Democratic caucus
Confusion, flaring tempers and misinformed volunteers highlighted Review-Journal tweets during the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Voters comment on Nevada Democratic caucus - VIDEO
Nevada caucusgoers comment on the process from locations across the Las Vegas Valley, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Doolittle Community Center hosts caucuses - VIDEO
The Doolittle Community Center hosted six precincts in one room for the Nevada Democratic caucuses, and voters engaged in debate and discussion about who to lead each precinct, Feb. 22, 2020. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Desert Oasis High School has wait for caucus check-in - VIDEO
James Strange has been waiting in line to caucus for the first time for 45 minutes and some said they have been waiting for an hour at Desert Oasis High School for the Nevada Democratic caucuses. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Conservative guru encourages Republicans to vote in Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Republican activist Chuck Muth encourages his fellow GOP members to change party affiliation for a day to elect Bernie Sanders. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee at Desert Oasis High School - VIDEO
Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., stopped by the Nevada Democratic caucus at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus day in Summerlin - VIDEO
Out-of-state caucus observer Ken Valz speaks about the Nevada Democratic caucuses at Palo Verde High School, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Doors open for Nevada Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Caucusgoers are lining up Saturday morning to take part in the Nevada Democratic caucuses across the state (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus day at East Last Vegas Community Center - VIDEO
Registration begins at the East Las Vegas Community Center for the Nevada Democratic caucuses, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It’s caucus day in Nevada - VIDEO
Democrats will gather at over 250 locations across the state to declare their presidential preferences in the Nevada caucuses, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic caucus-goers lined up to register at Liberty High - VIDEO
Democratic caucus-goers lined up to register at Liberty High in Henderson, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Elizabeth Warren holds rally with Julian Castro
Elizabeth Warren held her Get Out the Caucus Block Party with Secretary Julián Castro at the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater.
Trump caps western swing with campaign rally in Las Vegas
President Trump speaks to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center during a tour across the western United States.
Anti-Trump Protestors at LVCC Rally - Video
President Trump speaks at a Keep America Great rally as a small group of protesters gather outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Thousands gather for Trump rally
Thousands showed up for President Donald Trump’s rally Friday morning, forming a line that stretched nearly a quarter mile around the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Trump supporters camp outside the Las Vegas Convention Center
Trump supporters camp outside the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, where President Trump will held a rally on Friday in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
President Trump lands in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Donald Trump landed in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, as part of a four-day western state swing. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Long lines during early voting in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The final day of the Nevada Democratic Party’s early presidential caucuses wrapped up Tuesday, as thousands of Democrats lined up at 55 locations around the state for their last shot at filing an early preference card before the traditional caucuses on Saturday. Long lines were seen at CSN Charleston in Las Vegas. (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Last day for early voting at Culinary Union - VIDEO
Voters were still in line just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, as early voting in the Nevada Democratic Party caucuses came to a close. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pigeons wearing MAGA hats in Las Vegas - VIDEO
A flock of pigeons wearing Make America Great Again hats and one sporting a Donald Trump hairdo invaded downtown Las Vegas late Tuesday, following their release by an anonymous group: P.U.T.I.N. (Pigeons, United to Interfere Now). (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tuesday is last day to early vote in Nevada Democratic caucuses - VIDEO
Early voting in the Nevada Democratic caucuses ends Tuesday, with sites open throughout Clark County. (Michael Quine and James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer talk pay for child care workers - Video
Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer talk to care in action about the importance of Medicare for All, paid leave and child care. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Elizabeth Warren barnstorms Nevada ahead of caucuses - VIDEO
Warren is trying to drum up enthusiasm about her campaign after finishing fourth in the New Hampshire primary. Her rally drew about 400 people to the student union of the College of Southern Nevada’s Henderson campus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sen. Jacky Rosen encourages early voting at Culinary Workers 226 - VIDEO
Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., spoke to those casting early caucus votes at the Culinary Workers hall on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. Early voting in the Nevada Democratic caucuses continues Tuesday. The Nevada Caucuses are Saturday, Feb. 22. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2020 candidates rally in Southern Nevada ahead of caucus - VIDEO
2020 candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders held rallies all over Southern Nevada on Saturday ahead of the Democratic caucus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
First day of early voting - VIDEO
Nevada Democrats turned out in force on Saturday for the first day of early voting in the Democratic presidential caucuses.
Biden and Sully Sullenberger speak in Henderson - VIDEO
Presidential candidate Joe Biden and famed pilot Sully Sullenberger spoke at Sun City MacDonald Ranch to get out the vote for early voting for the Nevada caucus. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Poll: Bernie Sanders leads Democratic presidential candidates - VIDEO
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the presidential field by a solid margin among likely Democratic caucus-goers heading into Nevada’s four-day early voting period, with with 25 percent of respondents expressing support. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Poll: caucus vs. primary - VIDEO
A new Nevada Poll finds two-thirds of likely Democratic caucus-goers surveyed in a Review-Journal poll say they’d like to see Nevada replace its caucuses with a secret-ballot primary election to determine support for a presidential nominee. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caucus events Leading up to Caucus Day 2020 - VIDEOl
As presidential candidates make their way to Las Vegas, here's a look at events, dates and times for the days leading up to Nevada's Caucus Day 2020 on Feb. 22. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Election 2020: Nevada Caucus and Early Voting - Video
AARP's Nevada Caucus discussion with Steve Sebelius about the Nevada Caucus and early voting.
Election 2020: Nevada Caucus - Video
AARP's Nevada Caucus Discussion with Steve Sebelius. Join us as we discuss the Nevada Caucus process.
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yvanna Cancela Speaks on Supporting Biden - Video
The RJ Politics podcast crew sits down with Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela to discuss why she is supporting former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race.
Tom Steyer on Donald Trump and the economy - Video
Tom Steyer joins the RJ Politics podcast to talk about his campaign presence in Nevada and how he plans to take Trump on when talking about the economy. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Council Votes On Homeless Ordinance - Video
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday will discuss expanding on a controversial camping and sleeping ban aimed at deterring the homeless from bivouacking on city streets to include hours when public sidewalks are being cleaned.
Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Black Empowerment Event - Video
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a black empowerment event to talk about his Douglass plan.
Nevada’s caucuses see big turnout

More than 105,000 people participated in the Nevada Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses, with most turning out during early voting. It was the second-highest turnout since the state moved to an early spot on the nominating calendar in 2008.

A look inside the Nevada caucuses — PHOTOS

Here are images from Review-Journal photographers and reporters from more than 20 voting sites across Nevada.