Thursday, May 30, 2024

Louisiana collected $63M in hotel tax in 2022 to support stadium district

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Louisiana’s Stadium and Exposition District in New Orleans collected more than $63 million in hotel occupancy tax in fiscal year 2022, in addition to smaller contributions from the legislature.

Louisiana Legislative Auditor Mike Waguespack recently published an audit report of the district, which oversees the John A. Alario Sr. Event Center, Caesars Superdome, Smoothie King Center, the New Orleans Saints training facility in Metairie, the TPC Louisiana golf course in Avondale and the Shrine on Airline.

While the district is funded in part by operating revenues, it receives significant government funding in the form of hotel taxes, vehicle license plate royalties, a tax on out of state players’ income, capital appropriations and other sources.

“In accordance with the laws of the state, funds to operate the District are derived from self-generated funds, the 4% hotel occupancy tax (which expires when all bonds are either paid or funded), the lease agreement with the state, the management and operating agreement with the state, and the state’s Capital Budget and Capital Outlay program,” auditors wrote.

“The hotel occupancy tax is pledged by the state for the payment of principal and interest on the District’s bonds,” the report read. “Of the $63,516,817 of hotel occupancy tax earned for the year ended June 30, 2022, $26,685,530 was used for debt service requirements.”

Other governmental funds included $9.3 million from the New Orleans Sports Franchise Fund, $2.6 million from pari-mutuel live racing facility slots, $5.2 million from the players’ tax, $296,877 from vehicle license plate royalties, and smaller amounts from interest earnings and miscellaneous income.

Taken together, the report lists $81 million in total governmental funds as revenues.

Lawmakers made about $6.7 million in capital contributions for dome renovations and other improvements, auditors said.

The bulk of the district’s remaining funding came from self-generated revenues of $59,994,308. The largest among those included $23.3 million in event rental income, $17.5 million in concessions and souvenirs, $7.2 million in box suite rentals, $4.5 million in parking, and $4.3 million in ticket incentives, according to the report.

The district’s total operating expenses were $88.4 million. The largest expenses were $22.6 million in direct event expenses, $17 million in salaries, wages and benefits, and $12.7 million in obligation payments to the Saints.

In January 2022, the District issued $28.6 million in bond notes to purchase outstanding revenue refunding bonds. The district issued $70 million in bond notes in 2021, $90 million in 2020, and $30 million in 2019 to provide construction financing for the Caesars Superdome Master Plan project.

“The District reported $28,620,243 in grants and contributions to fund various capital projects and improvements for the Caesars Superdome and Bayou Segnette Sports Complex,” the LLA reports. “Of the total grants and contributions reported in fiscal year 2022, $21,667,811 was received from the New Orleans Louisiana Saints L.L.C. for the Caesars Superdome Master Plan project.”

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