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October 24, 2014

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Horsford cool toward arena proposal for Las Vegas Strip; backs online poker bill

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Steven Horsford

Backers of the proposed sports arena on the Las Vegas Strip may have succeeded in getting enough signatures to put the proposal before lawmakers next year, but legislative leaders aren’t necessarily happy about it.

In an interview today for "To the Point," Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, expressed some irritation that they will have to consider a special sales tax increase for the private project despite many pressing issues facing lawmakers when they convene in February.

“We’re required, despite all the other challenges we have with the budget, redistricting, this is an issue we will have to take up,” Horsford said. “My questions and concerns are at a time when we’re looking at cutting the budget nearly $3 billion, particularly for education, how is it that we are going to fund a proposal to build an arena? Are those the priorities we need in Nevada?”

By law, the Legislature must consider the petition in the first 40 days of the session.

Under the initiative petition pushed by Caesars Entertainment Corp., financing for the proposed 18,000-seat arena would be backed by an increase of 0.9 percent in the sales and use tax to be imposed in a gaming enterprise zone on the Strip.

Horsford was less antagonistic toward a federal bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would legalize online poker. Horsford called it a policy whose time has come.

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