Stadium Safe?

Chris Needham from Capitol Punishment has some analysis of the actions regarding bringing the stadium bill back before the DC City Council:

There’s a quote from some long-dead politician who said, “you can have the majority if I get to make the rules.” As long as Cropp stands by her word, the stadium should make it through the Council, again.

But Cropp keeps hedging her statements with cautions that she’d consider moving the stadium to the much-cheaper RFK site. You never know what she’ll spring at the last minute.

While it’s looking like the Stadium is in for rough treatment at the hands of the council, it’s not as if stadium proponents made their own lives any easier by doctoring specific numbers the first time around.

5 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on October 18th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    FIRST time around? Have they been honest about this bit of corporate welfare handout at any point? Their solution to Cropp’s concerns about residents picking up the tab was to come up with some cockamamie utility tax scheme which would only apply to Federal buildings, effectively shifting the burden onto EVERY US citizen rather than just DC residents.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on October 18th, 2005 @ 4:10 pm

    Actually, yeah, they have. The city wants a significant cut of the revenues from the Stadium (which can be used for more than baseball) and they’ll get exactly that. It does make sense to invest in the stadium in exchange for the revenues.

  3. WFY (unregistered) on October 18th, 2005 @ 5:51 pm

    Not too mention all the other economic development that it will bring…

    Also, buy all your Nats merchandise in the District. I am going to send an e-mail to council memebers pointing out how much money I spent in D.C. this year, money that I would not have spent without the team being there.

  4. Don (unregistered) on October 18th, 2005 @ 6:16 pm

    I have yet to see one proper study that supports the contention that municipal spending on sports venues is a net-gain for the community. There’s always a lot of hand-waving about jobs but no valid numbers to back it up. As far as a cut of revenues I would bet this deal is little different than the last half-dozen I have seen that put the community’s payout on the back end after so many other priorities that no notable monies ever materialize.

  5. Chris (unregistered) on October 19th, 2005 @ 3:24 pm

    Don is flatly correct. Every single third-party study on the public funding of sports venues finds that they take the taxpayers to the cleaners, and that the benefits to the private stadium owners far outweigh the financial benefits to their host cities by several orders of magnitude.

    Sales of hot dogs and Nats merch don’t make a dent in this equation.

    Such deals are, in every instance, a case of private individuals getting the public to pay for a hugely expensive undertaking. In return, the public coffers are only nominally reimbursed while the stadium owners and their backers get the lion’s share of the financial rewards.

    In an era when the city is struggling to fix potholes, pay its teachers, and keep lead out of the water, the council has a duty to watch its expenditures for comparatively frivolous items like sports venues.

    Proponents typically argue that shiny new stadiums bring in monies that more than make up for the municipal expenditures. But that’s never actually happened, and that evidence is clear and well-documented. One has to wonder about the motivations of the public officials who would even entertain a similar deal.

    If the owners are so sure their ticket sales and other revenues will earn enough to pay back the $535 million in construction costs, let them raise the money.

    For the city council to take on a half-billion-dollar debt for an unnecessary baseball stadium smacks of malfeasance.

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