Legislator describes bill to move Wizards, Capitals to Virginia as ‘dead’
It does not appear that the Washington Wizards or the Washington Capitals will be moving to northern Virginia anytime soon, according to legislators.
Virginia senator L. Louise Lucas, chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations committee, said the proposed legislation to relocate the two teams is currently “dead” and would not receive a hearing in her committee with the procedural deadline this week.
“I am not going to allow the governor to endanger the commonwealth’s stellar bond rating on my watch,” Lucas said Monday at a committee meeting, according to NBC Washington. “I will not allow a billionaire to build his company’s wealth on the taxpayer’s dime.
“As long as the full faith and credit of this commonwealth is backing this project, my answer continues to be an absolute no.”
Lucas stated that she did not approve the project’s financing because they would have bonds backed by the state and city, which could ultimately mean taxpayers could be responsible if there’s not enough revenue.
State governor Glenn Youngkin and Ted Leonsis, a majority owner in both franchises, agreed in December to relocate the two franchises to Virginia pending state approval. The deal was expected to create over 30,000 jobs, resulting in the sports’ first two professional sports franchises in Virginia.
Youngkin is still confident that the project will get done, but it could be days or weeks before legislation could be passed to make any deal official. The Wizards and Capitals both currently play less than 10 miles away from Alexandria.
“The Governor is confident at the end of the day that the General Assembly will come together because this project is good for the entire Commonwealth,” Rob Damschen, Youngkin’s communications director, said in a statement. “It creates 30,000 jobs and unlocks billions in new revenue that can be used to fund expanded toll relief in Portsmouth, increased funding for I-81, and new money for education for rural and urban school divisions across the Commonwealth.”
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