Channel 2 Action News has learned Gov. Nathan Deal is telling the Atlanta Falcons that a $300 million deal involving public money for a new football stadium is off the table.
Deal doesn’t want to completely strike down the stadium proposal, but he wants a smaller burden on taxpayers, sources told Channel 2’s Lori Geary.
Geary spent Friday at the state Capitol working with sources to get the latest developments. Firstly, the governor's office confirms that his high-ranking staff members met with Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay on a possible stadium deal, but no details of the negotiations were released.
Sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations confirmed Deal met with Falcons owner Arthur Blank this week at the governor's mansion, and the governor told Blank to drop his asking price of public money from $300 million to $200 million.
Sources told Geary the governor has no interest in having lawmakers vote to raise the borrowing limit of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to help pay for a $1 billion stadium.
The Falcons have agreed to pay $700 million on the retractable-roof stadium, but that number may soon be at $800 million.
A recent Channel 2 Action News poll showed almost 70 percent of metro Atlanta voters don't want $300 million of the city's hotel/motel tax tied up with a new stadium.
Geary learned the governor is also concerned about taking on new debt for a stadium while still owing tens of millions of dollars on the Georgia Dome, which will eventually be demolished.
Deal has already set a precedent for not wanting to raise the borrowing capacity for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. When the legislature passed a bill giving it basically an unlimited amount, Deal vetoed it.
Geary also reached out to the Falcons about the behind-the-scenes negotiations, but officials had no comment.