Thursday, September 30, 2004

 

It's Time to Kill Baseball Subsidy

A generous baseball 'deal' - The Washington Times: Editorials/OP-ED - September 24, 2004 I'm right with the Washington Times on this one. It is absolutely ludicrous that the taxpayers pay for a stadium in which a bunch of millionaires will play baseball while "working" for a bunch of billionaires. Here is how DC - yes the DC with the worst education system in the Country - is planning to pay for the stadium.

"To finance the $440 million project, the District would issue 30-year bonds. Annual debt-service costs would total more than $40 million. Those annual costs would be financed by $21 million to $24 million from a gross-receipts tax imposed on businesses with more than $3 million in annual revenues; $11 million to $14 million from taxes on tickets and stadium concessions; and $5.5 million in rent payments from the ballclub"

And the taxpayers will not get any of the "naming rights" money:

"The team's owners will receive all the income from ballpark naming rights, which can be quite substantial. The Redskins, whose stadium was privately financed, will receive more than $200 million over 27 years from Federal Express"

Proponents will argue how a baseball stadium will bring all kinds of new business to that area and provide jobs and income. Well look at downtown Phoenix. We have America West Arena (Phoenix Suns, formerly Phoenix Coyotes, and Arizona Rattlers) and Bank One Ballpark (Diamondbacks and hosts a college bowl game). On any given game night, downtown is moderately inhabited with pre-game goers and minimally with post-game partying. Any other night downtown is still a ghost town. Restaurants and bars struggle, the grocery store put in downtown to help encourage people to move back there closed it's doors after getting robbed on a regular basis and all the real night life is still somewhere else. Two large stadiums have not had any substantial financial benefit to that downtown area.

If you want to talk about tax cuts for the rich or corporate welfare, look no farther than your local taxpayer-funded stadium. And the next time your kids school can't pay for art, band, PE or books remember where your tax dollars are going.



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