BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The New Orleans Hornets will continue receiving a tax break that saves the NBA team $37 million over 10 years.
The Senate sent the tax break bill to the governor's desk Monday with a 28-7 vote. The measure, supported by Gov. Bobby Jindal, is part of the state's deal to the keep the Hornets in Louisiana and a piece of the agreement with new team owner Tom Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints.
The tax break ran into sharp criticism in the House, where lawmakers bristled at the idea of giving a multimillion dollar tax break while also weighing budget cuts to colleges and health services.
But Senate President John Alario, who is from the New Orleans area, handled the tax break bill in the Senate, a move that muted complaints Monday.
Alario, R-Westwego, said the Hornets have a strong economic impact on the city of New Orleans and the state.
The bill by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, extends an existing tax break that saves the team $3.7 million a year through Louisiana's Quality Jobs Program. The exemption was set to expire in 2013. Henry's bill continues the rebate through the 2024 NBA season.
Online: House Bill 1072 can be found at www.legis.la.gov