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Phoenix Councilman Opposes Mayor's Sports Arena Push

Lauren Loftus/KJZZ
file | staff
Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring says Mayor Greg Stanton’s call for a public-private partnership to build a new facility for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Coyotes will be a tough sell in this political climate.

Waring said he has nothing against the teams, but "the overall tax burden is becoming a dangerously onerous one."

During his annual State of the City address, Mayor Greg Stanton called for a public-private partnership to create a facility where the three teams could play. Stanton said he would do everything he could to pursue a new home while acting responsibly with tax dollars. 

"I will absolutely not raise taxes for a new arena— any plan for a new venue must only use the existing sports facilities fund," he said.

The sports facilities fund he referred to comes from a tax on hotel stays and car rentals that Phoenix created in 1989 to help build the downtown arena where the Suns play.

"The mayor will say it's not new taxes, but it's still tax dollars," Waring said. "And, I am checking to see what else could those tax dollars be used for."

If a proposal for a new facility is approved by the City Council it would then go to voters. Waring thinks that could happen as early as next spring.

“There are a lot of people who are pretty disaffected and unhappy with the status quo or the  powers that be," he said. "And I think something like this I just think going to feed into that and I think it’s got the potential to backfire."

The Suns could end their deal at Talking Stick Resort Arena as early 2022 while the Coyotes have been looking to leave Glendale.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.