Salt Lake County got its $15 million from the state to help renovate the aging Salt Palace, but only after some tough words were spoken.
Senators in a 20-8 vote approved the money, but it took a caucus to convince some senators not to pack the bill with millions of dollars worth of extra spending programs.A $10 million gym for Utah Valley Community College was voted down, as was $4 million to rebuild the Antelope Island causeway.
In the end, senators were convinced that $15 million now - to be matched by $15 million from Salt Lake City and by $15 million from Salt Lake County - will be repaid within seven years through increased convention business.
With the $15 million comes a 1 percent restaurant tax - to be levied by local county commissions - to pay for maintenance and operation of convention facilities and an increase in the transient room tax as well.
Besides the Salt Palace money, other projects in the bill include: $670,000 for the Logan Capitol Theater; $380,000 for the Ogden Union Depot; $420,000 for Cedar City's Shakespeare Theatre; $300,000 for the Hill Air Force Base Museum; $30,000 for the Heritage Theatre in Perry; and $200,000 for the Egyptian Theatre in Ogden.