Historic SoCal venues now allowed to use taxes generated at events to reinvest in facilities

Rob McMillan Image
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
New state law aims to keep historic SoCal venues open
The Rose Bowl will be one of three historic local stadiums eligible to receive a facelift thanks to funding from a new state bill.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena may be known as host to the "Granddaddy of Them All" college football game on New Year's Day, but some might say the 101-year-old stadium is looking a little long in the tooth.

However, a bill recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom is being applauded by local leaders as a method to reinvest in many of the state's historic venues.

"Is California going to invest in those historic venues that have been entertaining us for decades? Is that a policy decision for the state of California? Of course, we thought it was," said State Sen. Anthony Portantino of Burbank, who authored Senate Bill 96.

"We are here perpetuating and continuing the legacy of the Rose Bowl and reinvesting in that legacy by using today's dollars to do it," Portantino said.

Senate Bill 96, known as the Historic Venue Restoration and Resiliency Act, applies to public venues that were built prior to 1940, have a seating capacity of more than 15,000, and are owned by a public entity.

The new law allows a portion of the sales and use tax revenue generated at those facilities to remain in-house, for restoration, infrastructure, safety, security and maintenance.

According to a press release issued by the Rose Bowl Stadium, SB 96 did not seek allocations from the state's General Fund to support the preservation of these venues. Instead, it will use the sales and tax revenue generated by their live events to reinvest into each respective venue's infrastructure.

"The historic passing of SB 96 into law will ensure that infrastructure protection, increased patron safety initiatives, improvements to resource use like gas and water and the overall protection, preservation and enhancement of these multi-general generational landmarks continue to be vibrant, and bring our communities together the way they have for the past century plus," said Dedan Brozino, president of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation.

In Southern California, two other venues will also benefit from the new law: the Hollywood Bowl and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo is credited with coming up with the inspiration for SB 96 and pushing for its approval in Sacramento. Gordo said it's an idea that he hopes is gaining steam on a national level to protect historic venues and keep them relevant.

"If we don't protect these national treasures, if we allowed corporately-owned, billionaire-owned stadiums to continue to wipe out stadiums like the Rose Bowl, we will have lost part of our culture," Gordo said.