Friday, December 17, 2004
Good For D.C. - Pay For Schools, Not For Baseball
Taxpayers tired of footing the bill for stadiums. Thank god the DC city council came to their senses. Hopefully this will be a growing trend across the country. Just like with the domestic spending disaster we have now, we need to stop bankrolling corporations (including athletic franchises) with taxpayers money.
The broken deal is a reflection of a growing revolt around the country: People don't want to pay for sports palaces. They don't want to subsidize the construction of wealthy owners' places of business any more than they want to subsidize the building of a bank. Sure, baseball provides entertainment and notoriety for a city. So do restaurants. But you don't see chefs with their hands out at city council meetings. No one is buying the ''economic revitalization'' line anymore. D.C., like Miami, is a poor city with more important needs -- schools rather than corporate, write-off luxury suites; libraries rather than locker rooms; parks rather than $20-per-space parking lots. Remember what Miami Arena was going to do for Overtown? How come a developer and an NBA star were the ones who paid for the community center out of their own pockets?
The Marlins are stuck in negotiations for a stadium adjacent to the Orange Bowl. City and county leaders want a guarantee that the inevitable cost overruns on the $420 million project will be covered by the team. The Marlins, unwilling to put up additional money and praying for $30 million from the state legislature, flirted with Las Vegas just in case anyone forgot they can call the moving vans.
New York City is debating whether to build a $1.4 billion football stadium for the Jets. Taxpayers would pick up about half the tab.