Metro Council to vote on part of funding for new Titans’ stadium

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 7:29 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A vote by Metro Council on Tuesday night could move the Tennessee Titans a little closer to getting a new indoor stadium.

The Metro Council will consider the 1% hotel tax increase on Tuesday and approval of the term sheet for the proposed stadium.

Councilmember Brett Withers said Metro’s liability is capped at $760 million and a majority of that amount will be coming from the hotel tax increase if and when that passes.

The hotel tax increase will be considered on the second reading on Tuesday.

“I really haven’t decided how I think I’m going to vote on that because I don’t think any of this stuff should be moving forward on any level until the council gets the information that we asked for, and we haven’t gotten that,” Councilmember Ginny Welsch said.

According to Mayor John Cooper, funding for the new stadium, which would cost just over $2 billion, will come from several sources: the Tennessee Titans/NFL, personal seat license sales, sales tax collected at the new stadium, $500 million from the state and tourists through the hotel tax increase.

Withers said they believe that a 1% increase in the hotel tax would probably generate about $600 million of the $760 million that he said is where Metro’s liability is capped. He also added that the sales tax that will be collected from the district that surrounds the potential new stadium would be little since there isn’t much around that area.

“The other piece, which is smaller, is 50% of the sales tax within a district that Metro Council would still have to create that is around the stadium,” Withers said. “Right now, that area does not generate a lot of sales tax anyway, so consequently, that sales tax portion of the $760 million is not substantial and it’s not expected to be substantial. The majority of that $760 million is going to be paid for by this hotel occupancy tax that we’re going to vote on, probably around $600 million.”

“If you look at all the new tax streams coming in are allocated toward debt service and all sorts of things,” Welsch said. “So that tax money is not going to the coffers that support all the rest of the city and how we keep our city running.”

Metro Council will be voting on a term sheet for the new Titans stadium and hotel tax increase. Tosin Fakile asked a representative to weigh in.

As the ball seems to continue rolling on the proposed stadium, WSMV4 reached out to one state lawmaker who was in favor of the state’s $500 million contribution toward the stadium funding to ask if they feel it’s still a financially sound decision.

State Rep. Scotty Campbell, R-Mountain City, said for the state of Tennessee, which is sales tax driven and depends quite a bit on dollars that come in from people visiting the state, the $500 million from the state was a good decision.

“Really what we’ve done here is kicked open the door for a lot of year-round opportunities for international brands like the NFL, WWE, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, to be able to do better and bigger business here,” Campbell, a member of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee, said. “I think what we’re doing is ultimately creating an avenue in hopes of generating additional revenue in a state where sales tax is paramount, where those tax dollars are depended upon greatly.”

WSMV4 asked if the $500 million the state is contributing could better serve other state departments like Department of Children’s Services or Tennessee Department of Transportation, which needs money and works on things that help Tennesseans every day.

“If we don’t continue to maintain tax base that we have and try to keep those revenues coming in, we won’t be able to fund those agencies and entities we do today,” Campbell said. “I will say this broadly that over approximately the last decade, the state budget has increased about one-third. We’re going to say a 30-plus percent increase in funding of many things. Is that appropriate? Is that enough? That’s a debate that could rage on for a long time.”

Metro Council members expect the second reading vote on the hotel tax increase will pass on Tuesday night. It would then face a third reading in two weeks.

Withers said there is a call to defer the vote on the term sheet for the proposed stadium until Dec. 20, the date for the final reading for the hotel tax increase.