PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A bill moving through the state Legislature could help the Arizona Diamondbacks raise the cash needed to upgrade Chase Field and keep the team in downtown Phoenix.
HB 2835, which passed unanimously out of the House Appropriations Committee this week, allows the baseball franchise to issue hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds to improve the taxpayer-owned stadium.
If approved, Diamondbacks officials said it will not cost taxpayers a dime, that the team will issue the bonds and impose additional fees onto their fans who attend games to pay off the debt.
During the committee hearing, a lawyer representing the club said the 23-year-old stadium need as much as $500 million for the remodel.
While the bill still allows the team to look for other locations to potentially build a new stadium, the club has said it prefers to stay downtown.
One provision in the bill that raised some questions gives the Diamondbacks the authority to build a hotel that would be exempt from state and local property taxes.
While Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills, voted the bill out of committee, he said he might change his mind if the proposal gets to the House floor as it's currently written.
"I'm uncomfortable with the whole thing. I'm willing to go OK with the stadium but when this gets to the floor, and we're still giving breaks to hotels, especially when it's competing with other hotels year round, I would be a no," he said.