House backs tax break for Super Bowl


House backs tax break for Super Bowl

Football fans who purchase tickets to a Super Bowl in Atlanta would not have to pay sales tax under legislation the Georgia House approved Friday.

The House voted 127-22 to approve House Bill 951, which exempts the sales tax from any future Super Bowl, World Series or other major non-recurring sporting event that comes to Georgia.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chad Nimmer, R-Blackshear, also includes another year’s worth of sales tax holiday weekends for school supplies and energy-efficient employees.

Supporters of the bill, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, said the exemption is an NFL requirement for any Super Bowl bid. Atlanta wants to land a Super Bowl for the new Falcons stadium, now under construction. The bill is backed by Gov. Nathan Deal and House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

But opponents argue the NFL does not need Georgia’s money.

“The NFL is one of the most profitable businesses on our planet and they are working really hard to get as much money out of us as they can,” Rep. Mike Dudgeon, R- Johns Creek, said. “I do not believe this is a make-or-break thing. I think they’re just trying to see what they can get from the state of Georgia.”

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jay Powell, R-Camilla, however, said the deal is more than worth it. The exemptions would cost Georgia about $10 million. But landing a Super Bowl would bring in $30 million, he said.

“You cannot lose what you do not have,” Powell said. “There is no sales tax on Super Bowl tickets if there is no Super Bowl. It is a requirement. Our competitors are Florida and Louisiana and they have a sales tax exemption on the books right now.”

Meanwhile, the bill would renew the popular sales tax holiday weekend for school supplies for July 30-31 and for energy-efficient appliances for Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

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