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Sen. Adam Ebbin Says “it is critical we don’t rush to approve” Proposed Potomac Yard Wizards/Caps Arena; Senate Finance/Appropriations Chair Louise Lucas Refuses to “Docket” the Bill

Sen. Ebbin: "Three components must be in any bill I could consider supporting"

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UPDATED 1:47 pm – See the following video and transcript of Sen. Louise Lucas this morning explaining her reasons for not docketing the arena bill.

“As everyone is aware, I have used the Chair’s prerogative to not docket the governor’s arena legislation. Previous chairs have used the same prerogative and no one made a fuss about it. I admire the customs of the Senate, but it is simply not a rule. I did not even schedule my own bill.

Fundamentally, the reason that I decided to not docket this bill is it places too much risk on the Commonwealth. The governor’s proposed deal has many unanswered questions and potential conflicts of interest. The governor refuses to negotiate and simply believes this co-equal branch of government should rubber stamp the Glenn Dome. The proposed arena relies on the Commonwealth’s moral obligation debt. If the project’s revenues are insufficient to cover the debt, taxpayers are on the hook to bail out this project. The underlying finances show that this project is not viable without our credit rating. Once we open the tap of financing giveaways for billionaires, we open the door for future Governors to ask for similar treatment. The more we use the Commonwealth moral obligation for financing private development ,the more risk we place on not being able to finance actual services for higher education, public safety, health services and natural resources.

Everyone knows I waited a long time to be chair of finance and appropriation. But I’m not going to allow the governor to endanger the Commonwealth’s stellar bond rating on my watch. I will not allow a billionaire to build his company’s wealth on the taxpayer’s dime. At every turn, the governor thinks that he should be able to use the executive branch to enrich his friends. This is not how Virginia awards contracts or contacts economic
development projects to the Commonwealth.

Finally, over the weekend, the governor said progressive Democrats are content to concede and to compromise away. And I’m here to tell…the governor that this Democrat is not conceding to a half-baked Glenn Dome that compromises the Commonwealth’s financial position for his billionaire friends.”

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See below for a statement from VA State Senator Adam Ebbin (D), who represents the Potomac Yard area, as well as much of Alexandria, in the State Senate. According to Sen. Ebbin, the transportation component of this plan “could never be achieved unless Metro receives long-term, sustainable funding from the Commonwealth.” Unfortunately, as Sen. Ebbin explains, Gov. Youngkin’s budget “includes zero commitment to long-term funding of the Metro system.”

Meanwhile, this morning, Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee Chair Louise Lucas opted NOT to docket the Senate bill (SB718) on this project, arguing that the legislation “put too much risk on the Commonwealth” and that “it would be atypical and precedent-setting to use the Commonwealth’s contingent moral obligation debt to fund a private economic development project.” So at this point, who knows where this project is going, but it’s most certainly not a done deal – nor should it be, for a whole host of reasons!

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