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|03-28-2005, 02:19 PM||#1|
Member Since: Sep 2002
Fleecing taxpayers to subsidize millionaires
The 2010 Super Bowl might be coming to New York City. According to the Associated Press:
Now all the New York Jets have to do is get approval for their stadium project on the West Side of Manhattan, which is no slam dunk.
NFL owners voted 31-1 Wednesday to award the 2010 game to New York, provided the 75,000-seat stadium, whose cost now has reached nearly $2 billion, is built.
Oh, by the way, New York taxpayers also get to kick in about $500 million of the total bill.
Washington, D.C., has most recently fleeced its taxpayers to subsidize professional sports, so the Montreal Expos baseball team could relocate to the District this year as the Washington Nationals. And there's no reason not to expect New York City to be just as successful in looting its state's coffers, even if the primary motivation for building a brand new stadium will now be its ability to boast of hosting a measly football game in five years.
And why not? After all, the city and state are already on board.
Huh. And here I thought Madison Square Garden already was a world-class facility. But never mind that. Considering Bloomberg's undeniable intelligence and entrepreneurial success, one would think he'd have a reasonably refined understanding of economics. So what's really depressing is that someone can become mayor of New York City without knowing that professional sports venues hardly account for notable increases in "economic activity and jobs."
I hate to muddle things up with facts, but Dennis Coates debunks this claim in a Cato Institute study, concluding that “professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy. The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area.”
Coates also clarified in a Washington Post op-ed that “despite years of searching for evidence that building a stadium or attracting a sports franchise leads to increased income and job creation, economists have come up empty.”
So I don't believe for one minute that Mayor Bloomberg actually believes a new stadium will provide financial windfalls for his city. I believe he knows full well the disingenuity of his claims, content to support for political gain this project, the ramifications of which likely won't emerge until he's no longer involved in New York politics and burdened by the fiscal consequences.
And don't expect the mainstream media to provide an accurate account of just how absurd it is for taxpayers to subsidize millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, either. Indeed, less than 1% (40 out of 732 words) of the entire AP report addressed the concerns of NYC taxpayers. Apparently, this is the best it could do:
There also has been substantial opposition to the project from neighborhood action groups and others who question why New York's policemen, firefighters and teachers are without contracts, but the city can chip in $500 million or so for a stadium.
It's unfortunate that our collective willingness to subordinate economic agility to our desire for entertainment will cost thousands of taxpayers who couldn't care less about sports the same amount of money as those who do. If professional sporting arenas were a worthwhile investment, team owners would be building them, not passing the expense on to taxpayers.
When the NFL owners voted Wednesday to award the 2010 Super Bowl to New York, Jets owner Woody Johnson called it a "landmark day," adding, "We're thrilled about this announcement."
He has every reason to be. After all, opportunistic politicians and naive taxpayers are willing to subsidize a football stadium Mr. Johnson would never build himself, not to mention absorb the financial risk and potential fallout he should otherwise assume.
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|04-01-2005, 11:55 AM||#3|
Member Since: Feb 2001
I'm all for fleecing taxpayers...
...it's like fleecing sheep; it's where the wool is.
At first glance the idea of taxpayer funded stadiums for millionaire sports team owners is a simple reaction of; Screw them! Let them build their own damn stadium!
The travails of Jack Kent Cooke cured me of that sensitivity forever.
The man ran around DC, NOVA and Maryland with his hat in his hand and his checkbook wide open for anyone who would help him build his stadium. He'd pay for the stadium, the locals pay for the roads and other infrastructure, power, sewer and water etc.
Finally, PG County partnered up and accepted his money. It took 9 years to find a partner and Cooke died a few months before the thing was completed.
Sports teams are 'big league' and either a city IS big league or it is not. Public money should also be spent on museums, theatres, colleges, all kinds of big, good, cool stuff.
When was the last time anyone talked about how much RFK cost when it was built? Compare that to how often it is mentioned that their is no baseball, no national pastime, in the nations capital?
10 years from now, we'll be looking forward to yet another opening day at a nice stadium by the waterfront and the price tag, if even mentioned, will look like a good deal in hindsight.
Hopefully, New Yorkers will be doing the same thing.
There is no better place on the planet for a stadium than NYC. It is a 'walking' town and how cool will that be for fans to be able to walk to the stadium?
"...When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them."