December 1, 2020 - 9:00 pm
For those who believed the hokum that tourists would pay for construction of Allegiant Stadium, the Review-Journal burst that bubble, reporting last week that Clark County withdrew $11.55 million from its debt reserve to make December’s bond payment on the stadium.
“Fiscal year ‘21 room tax collections are insufficient to pay the debt service payment due on Dec. 1 for the Stadium Authority bonds,” county spokesman Erik Pappa said.
Not enough golden geese hit town to pay the 0.88 percent room tax, and those who did paid a fraction of normal pre-pandemic room rates. Mr. Pappa spun the news as a good thing, pointing to the debt service reserve fund feature of the stadium’s financing, which now holds $57.3 million. With quarterly bond payments due of $16 million, should tourist traffic and room rates not increase, that’s less than four quarters of payments left in the reserve.
In the best of times, resorts would push the tax backward to be absorbed by labor, suppliers or shareholders. In bad times, if the reserve runs out, Clark County taxpayers will have to foot the bill directly.
But taxpayers can be happy knowing that Mark Davis’s Raider franchise is now worth $3.1 billion according to Forbes magazine, a 7 percent (or $220 million) increase from 2019.