A near $37 million tax break for the New Orleans Hornets has been given final approval by the Louisiana Legislature.

The bill is a critical piece of a proposed long-term deal to keep the NBA team in Louisiana through the 2024 season. Louisiana Senate President John Alario says based on the current contract with the Hornets the bill will actually save the state $72 million over the current system that is in place.

By providing a tax break, the state will be relieved of giving the Hornets an annual subsidy. Opponents say the state can't afford to give a professional franchise a tax rebate. But Alario says the team provides the state with jobs and tax revenue.

"The economic studies on it show the Hornets actually generate $11.7 million a year net tax revenue to the state. So we think in the long run we'll count it an economic benefit plus the fact that New Orleans stays a big league city is a big plus for us," says Alario.

The measure passed on a 28-7 vote.