Virginia legislators are pushing a measure to attract the Washington Commanders to Washington. This allows the NFL to forgo $1 billion in future tax payments to finance a new stadium.

This move comes one year after legislators granted the team preferential treatment to a lucrative sports betting license. It is meant to help Virginia secure its first major pro-sports franchise. Maryland and the District of Columbia are out of the running.

“They’re going someplace. “They’re unlikely to be here if they don’t have any incentive,” Tray Adams, a lobbyist for the team, stated before a panel that was considering the legislation.

The team did not respond to questions by The Associated Press about its seriousness regarding Virginia or its plans for the site. However, lawmakers briefed by Snyder, including those who met with Snyder, described a stadium as part of a larger multiuse development in Loudoun and Prince William counties in suburban Washington that includes a resort and conference centre, residences, and an indoor concert venue.

Senator Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (a Fairfax Democrat who sponsored one version of the legislation) said that “it’s almost a city.”

With broad bipartisan support, the Senate and House passed different versions of the measure. Each will now adopt the other’s. According to legislative leaders, they anticipate that the differences will be resolved by a conference committee. Final negotiations would take place in private.

Both versions of legislation would create the Virginia Football Stadium Authority, which is responsible for financing the construction of a football stadium and other related facilities. The authority of nine members would be authorized to issue bonds and then to reclaim certain tax revenues for the repayment of that debt.

There are differences in the types and amounts of taxes that can each be recouped. The Senate version is more helpful, as it allows for the capture of certain sales taxes that are generated on campus, personal income tax revenue from stadium operations, corporate income and pass-through entity income tax revenues over 30 year periods. The House version would only allow for the recapture sales tax over 20 year and would require that the team pays at least 50% of any naming right revenues to the authority.

Both bills state that revenues can be used for whatever purpose the authority “deems appropriate” for the facility, including debt service on bonds. The legislation doesn’t set any limits on how much taxes can be recouvered, nor does it allocate money.

Proponents of the bill claim that the project will bring a net benefit for the state, despite the incentives. According to Saslaw’s version of the bill’s provisions, the team estimates that $153 million per year in taxes would be generated. $60 million would go to the state, $59 million to localities, and $34 million for debt service. He estimates that $1 billion could be diverted from taxes to the stadium over the next 30 years. However, this would not cover all the costs.

In recent years, stadium funding programs in other states have been criticized as a waste of taxpayer resources. Saslaw, at each hearing, has claimed that the state isn’t putting any general funds into the deal and will not be on the hook to pay for the bonds.

“The state isn’t backing the bonds.” He stated it was forbidden by the bill during one hearing.

Republican Senator Steve Newman supports the measure and described it as “self-help.”

Since 1997, the team has been exploring new stadium options and it is unlikely that FedEx Field in Landover will be renewed by the team.

The team is now called the Commanders, after its new name was revealed earlier in the month. However, it has been subject to criticism ever since former employees exposed a toxic work environment. A thorough investigation by an outside firm, overseen by NFL, resulted in a $10,000,000 fine. However, no written report was published. Members of Congress recently demanded the league to provide more details.

Snyder was the victim of sexual harassment claims by a former employee in February. These accusations were denied by Snyder and the NFL quickly investigated. This was a major issue in the debate over the Virginia bill.

Similar amendments from Democrats to make the deal conditional on disclosures related the investigations were rejected by both chambers.

“When you enter into business with a billionaire, and you’re going to forgo up to a million dollars in tax revenue,” stated Sen. Adam Ebbin. He was one of many lawmakers who claimed he spoke with Snyder at his house to discuss the deal.

Some lawmakers have been concerned by the lack of transparency in these talks.

Del. Elizabeth Guzman (a Democrat representing part of Prince William County) said that she was not approached about the project by team members. She was curious as to why Del. Barry Knight, the chairman of the appropriations committee from Virginia Beach, was carrying House version of bill. She also wondered why no meeting had taken place of the entire legislative delegation representing the counties where the stadium might be built.

Guzman also noticed the notoriously jammed traffic in the area and wondered if the infrastructure of the district could handle the project.

“I would love for them to show me what they have to do for us. She asked, “What are they willing to do to Prince William County in order to improve our transportation system?”

Glenn Youngkin (recently elected Republican governor of Virginia), seemed to support the idea in his first address last month to legislators. vague mention was made about the legislation.

Youngkin spoke to the AP in an interview. He said he hoped he could come to an agreement with the Legislature on a bill that would “best represent the interests of Virginia taxpayers” and bring the Washington Commanders back to Virginia.