Repeat after me: It is not the job of government to make it safe for businessmen to get rich…
I really wanted to write a satire, but I just can’t get any more absurd than entire tax-payer-subsidy of a baseball stadium downtown.
A bunch of rich white guys bought some baseball cards… er baseball slaves… er a baseball team… and they want us to cover their costs so they can take their clients and grandkids to a game.
Let’s just look at the facts behind a few assertions.
The team is taking a risk building it’s 38 Studios Stadium… Bullshit!
“We shouldn’t be taxed on something we put the money into,”
— James Skeffington owner of the In-Our-PocketSox
Really, James? Why not? Isn’t risk what private ownership is all about? You’re not taking any risk. You want…
- $4 million a year in kickbacks. (offset by a theoretical $2 million in tax revenue)
- a 30 year tax-free lease at $1/year on prime land in the center of Providence. Wait…. 30 years? No property taxes for Providence… Isn’t the team already threatening to welch on a tax-free lease in Pawtucket?
- The option to buy the land at fair market value after the lease expires. Hmmm. Let’s think about this. 30 years from now, after everything’s developed. They’ll argue that they have to pay to tear down the stadium to develop that piece of land, so… it’s not worth that much. And if they ditch again, guess who foots the bill for deconstruction?
- Has anyone mentioned the “naming rights” to this stadium? I can see a big jewelry company kicking in a few million dollars… Who gets this cash?
What risk are you taking? Fronting the money knowing that you’re going to get paid? I’ll tell you what… You promise to pay me $4 million a year, and I’ll give you $2 million a year. I promise!
Economic benefits for owners… And no one else
- Yes. People will get paid for construction.
- And politicians will get campaign contributions and photo-ops
- But raise your hands folks… how many of you have ever made a special trip to a minor-league ball game? Haven’t people been doing that at a lovely stadium in Pawtucket for years now? How much economic impact has that had? (Answer: NOT MUCH outside of Pawtucket)
- On February 21, The Providence Journal ran an article headlined, “Minor league baseball: Squeezed by low pay” Here’s a quote from the article, “It would be difficult to spin the numbers in any way that suggests minor-league baseball players earn minimum wage.”
- On April 17, that same paper ran an article, “Playing for free at McCoy Stadium rankles some bands” The PawSox are too cheap to pay bands to play. Hotdogs and soda? And they have to provide their own sound systems? Really?
If we don’t give them the money then the land will be empty and Rhode Island will go bankrupt…
- As I recall, this public land was supposed to be a public park. It wasn’t supposed to be the economic savior of the entire State.
- While empty land generates no revenue, it costs little to maintain and remains open for a real opportunity in the future.
- Future uses for the land could be:
- A benefit to the public
- Open more than a few hours a day.
- Useable in the winter time (which is fairly long…)
- Useable without the permission of a private corporation.
If we don’t bribe the team now, then there are plenty of other cities that will…
Bye bye. Good luck. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.