State's push to keep Saints gets boost

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana House has approved a central piece of Gov. Bobby Jindal's deal to keep the New Orleans Saints in the state.

The measure, sent to the Senate with a 70-23 vote, would allow team owner Tom Benson to act as the state's landlord by letting the state lease office space from Benson for up to two decades.

Benson plans to buy and redevelop a vacant office complex and a vacant former mall next to the Louisiana Superdome.

Jindal agreed to rent office space from the Saints owner in a deal to funnel money to the NFL team while limiting direct cash subsidies, which have reached $23.5 million a year.

For his part, Benson agreed to keep the Saints in New Orleans through 2025.