ARLINGTON, TX (AP) The Dallas Cowboys have spent nearly $950,000 to persuade voters to approve a referendum that calls for building a 75,000-seat stadium that would be among the NFL’s largest.
The Cowboys have contributed $947,500 of the $966,424 spent by “Vote Yes! A Win for Arlington,” according to campaign finance reports filed with the city.
The group is promoting a plan on the Nov. 2 ballot that would increase the city’s sales tax and hotel and car rental taxes to finance half of the stadium’s $650 million construction cost.
The No Jones Tax Coalition, a group that opposes the stadium plan championed by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has raised just $20,702.
“I didn’t dream they would spend nearly $1 million this quickly,” said Bruce Deramus, chairman of Concerned Taxpayers of Arlington, which has spent about $3,300 opposing the referendum.
The Arlington City Council unanimously approved the referendum in August after a study found the city could add $238 million a year to its economy by helping build a Cowboys stadium.
Jones wants to replace Texas Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Irving, where the team has played since 1971. Jones started negotiations with Arlington after talks with the city and county of Dallas apparently fell apart.
The Cowboys stadium would be built next to the Texas Rangers’ Ameriquest Field and near the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park.
Minority Group Urges Agreement
Before Stadium Vote
Minority contractors and business owners say they don’t want to be forgotten in the Dallas Cowboys’ plans for a new retractable-roof.
Robert Phanelson, president of the African-American Chamber of Commerce, said a fair-share agreement must be in place before minorities can vote on Nov. 2 for increases in sales tax and hotel and car rental taxes to finance half of the stadium’s $650 million construction cost.
Such an agreement would set goals for the team to hire minority- and women-owned firms in construction and operation of a new stadium.
Also, team officials and their lawyers met with school district trustees and legal counsel in closed session for about two hours on Sept. 29. The two sides discussed how the district’s tax base will be affected if voters agree to help finance the stadium, said Superintendent Mac Bernd.
Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said he has met three or four times with the fair-share task force, which includes members from minority chambers of commerce, the Dallas/Fort Worth Black Contractors Association, the League of United Latin American Citizens and NAACP.
Cluck said he presented the latest draft agreement to the City Council in a closed session on Sept. 28.
A city-commissioned study found that Arlington, the state’s seventh-largest city with about 350,000 residents, could add $238 million a year to its economy by helping build a Cowboys stadium, said Cluck.
The African-American Chamber was formed because there was no fair-share agreement for Ameriquest Field’s construction and operation.