Today's meeting of the Prince George's County Council should give the Washington Capitals a major clue as to their future.
The 11-member council is expected to approve legislation to lower the amusement tax on the Capitals from 10 percent to one-half of 1 percent, which is one of four conditions established for the club's continued existence in Washington.
Abe Pollin, the team owner, said last month that unless 7,500 season tickets were sold, the first 10 home games sold out, rent on Capital Centre lowered and the amusement tax decreased within 30 days, he would sell and move, merge or disband the team.
The original deadline was last Friday, but had to be extended because the council was not scheduled to meet until today.
As of Friday, two conditions had been met. Capital Centre rent had been decreased from 15 to 10 percent of the net after taxes, and area companies had agreed to guarantee sellouts for the first 10 home games. Season ticket sales yesterday stood at 5,516.
Pollin had said the satisfaction of all four conditions was required by potential investors, who would buy 50 percent of the club if it remained in operation.
Prince George's County Executive Lawrence Hogan has been optimistic about the Capitals' tax situation. "It is not a cancellation of the tax, but a postponement," he said. If approved, the tax would be remain lowered for three years, to be increased gradually to 10 percent by the sixth year.