ATLANTA — Fresh off the nationally-embarrassing “religious freedom bill” debacle that threatened to derail Atlanta as one of the nation’s premiere destinations for corporations, movies and major sporting events, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a tax-break bill to in order to attract the Super Bowl to Atlanta.
The Super Bowl is America’s number one singular sporting event, bringing in several hundreds of millions of dollars into the host city. Atlanta is jockeying with other major metropolises in making an attractive bid to bring the mega-game to Capital of the New South.
Deal signed House Bill 951 in order to entice the Super Bowl and other big-ticket events to Atlanta, even though some lawmakers decried a lucrative tax break for sporing events.
Also couched within the bill is the ability of Georgia back-to-school shoppers a sales tax break for a late July weekend and restores an incentive to buy energy efficient products.
Deal received support from both Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta Sports Council, who said the $10 million in breaks is infinitesmal compared more than $400 million, along with $30 million in direct sales tax revenue, that the big game would generate.
Deal said this was a necessary move to land the Super Bowl and showcase the nearly $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is still under construction in downtown Atlanta. It also extends a similar break for all-star games, college championships and any other game deemed to qualify as a “major sporting event” by top Deal deputies.
The measure passed with ease in both the Georgia House and Senate. However, there were some loud detractors who believe Gov. Deal is selling Georgia’s soul to get the big gaming events into the state.
Atlanta is bidding for the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls, competing still competition from the likes of Los Angeles, New Orleans, Tampa and Miami.
Atlanta has already committed $200 million in bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes for construction of the Mercedes-Benz stadium.