The state will turn back new sales tax revenue to cities to help them build sports complexes under a bill approved by lawmakers May 20.
Under LB39, introduced by Omaha Sen. Brett Lindstrom, a political subdivision alone or working with a nonprofit organization can apply for state assistance to build sports complexes — facilities that are used primarily for competitive sports and contain a certain number of sports venues such as outdoor arenas or baseball, softball or multipurpose fields.
The turnback applies to state sales tax collected by new businesses located within 600 yards of the exterior boundary of a sports complex for the period of time beginning on the date the project commenced and ending four years after its completion date.
Under the bill, 30 percent of state sales tax revenue related to an eligible sports arena facility will be transferred to the Civic and Community Center Financing Fund. The fund is used to provide grants to municipalities other than Omaha and Lincoln to build or improve community facilities such as libraries and recreation centers.
If the sales tax revenue relates to a sports complex, 83 percent will be transferred to the Support the Arts Cash Fund. The Nebraska Arts Council uses the fund to aid cities that designate an area of the community for arts and cultural development and to provide grants to creative districts.
The council will use the turnback revenue to fund a competitive grant program for first class cities that have creative districts within their boundaries and a 10-year plan to bring about economic and workforce development initiatives.
Grants must be at least $1.5 million and can be used to fund capital assets, video projection mapping and certain video or audio presentations.
The remaining 17 percent of the revenue related to sports complexes will be transferred to the Convention Center Support Fund and distributed to areas in metropolitan class cities with a high concentration of poverty to showcase important historical aspects of those areas or to help reduce street and gang violence.
Senators voted 45-0 to pass LB39.