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Cities are still paying for stadiums that no longer exist

Sep 8, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

I’ve been on the “public financing for ballparks = bad” train for years, but apparently it’s just now dawning on actual public officials that giving billionaires free offices in which to operate their insanely-profitable businesses is a bad idea.

Today’s story on it in the New York Times details how a bunch of places — New Jersey, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Houston, Kansas City, Memphis and Pittsburgh, among others — are still paying off debt for publicly-financed stadium projects for stadiums that no longer exist.  The kicker to the article:

With state and local budgets stretched by the recession, politicians are
only now starting to look askance at privately held teams trying to tap
the public till.

And “only now” are we at a point, conveniently enough, where virtually every team in all of the major sports already has their publicly-financed park, stadium or arena, making the askance looks of politicians really convenient.

And I’ll bet dollars to donuts that this will all be forgotten by the time the Camden Yards-class parks are deemed obsolete and replacements are required.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Who cares? I’d rather pay my tax money for something that is going to bring me pleasure than to give it to lazy bastards who won’t go out and get a freaking job. Damnit!!! Forgot what site I was on. My apologies to you guys. I’m sorry in advance.

  2. Lans Downe - Sep 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    So subsidizing the wealthy is better than subsidizing the poor? I’m generally against both, but that’s a logic fail.

  3. okobojicat - Sep 8, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Sometimes I wonder if you are just a troll.
    .
    You claim to hate paying unemployment to those who are unemployed, yet do you realize that for every single job opening in the US right now, their are five unemployed applicants. It isn’t that these people can’t get a job, its that there aren’t any jobs. I was jobless for six months. I sent out 5 resumes EVERY SINGLE DAY. And I wasn’t applying for Exec Position. Ever job from 0-years experience to 10 years that wasn’t a hairdresser I applied for.
    .
    Tax payer stadiums are an idiotic waste. They make the rich even ridiculously richer and rarely prove an economic boost that the money spent otherwise wouldn’t better create.

  4. geoknows - Sep 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    The article doesn’t state that the stadiums or arenas all no longer exist. It states that they have been “abandoned by the teams they were built for.” In KC, for example, Kemper Arena has long been left behind by the NBA and NHL, and is a bit of a white elephant in a bad spot, but it still gets lots of usage.

  5. Paper Lions - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Ignorance abounds. Tax dollars always have been used primarily to help those that already are wealthy. Government always has been to guard the resources and safety of the wealthy and privileged, using the poor to meet that end. Why is it easier for people to swallow when their tax dollars are given to people that don’t need it, than when they are given to those that do?

  6. Jonny5 - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    It makes me want to go find certain politicians and go all “Revolutionary” on heir asses. The old tar and feather method really worked i heard…. Ok, it’s good buisness for the city, but taxpayers should never bear the burden of a loan to build a building for a profit making private company. Please tell me they at least pay rent….

  7. Dan in Katonah - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Pay rent? Hardly.
    Ask Gov. Patterson in NY about dealing with the teams with publicly financed stadiums. He is still trying to undo the embarassment of accepting free Yankee tickets.
    I wonder if opponents of the stadiums investigated whether some of these white elephants had free luxury suites for the city/state governments that own/finance them? The question then being, who divies out the tickets that the “public” owns and doesn’t that violate the anti-gifting laws for public officers? The whole set up stinks. Subsidizing billionaires…

  8. John_Michael - Sep 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    The Dodgers pay rent to themselves. Is that what you were asking about?

  9. Jonny5 - Sep 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    That’s what we get for electing ex lawyers, and certain career politicians into office. Can you think of a lesser vermin posing as human? (Sorry Craig, but you saw the error of your ways and ammended them.) Sure we need both of them, but when given a choice, we vote for the lowest life form most of the time. The Republocrats and Demublicans are in control and we are paying the price. And will until we break their stranglehold on our country we will continue this type of nonsense.

  10. Reflex - Sep 8, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Everybody hates lawyers. Until, you know, they need one.

  11. Glenn - Sep 8, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Not only is it ridiculous to give tax money to multimillionaires and billionaires, but the corporations and business owners get tax breaks for buying tickets as well. This artificially raises ticket prices for the rest of us who don’t get subsidies for our seats. The problem is corporate welfare, not the little guy on the dole. And for every welfare cheat, there’s a rich guy or a business taking millions in tax dollars. The whole fairy tale that you’re “hard working squirrel” and the big, bad liberals are making you give half or your nuts to “lazy squirrel” is a little too simplistic, my friend.

  12. Glenn - Sep 8, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Read the book “Free Lunch”. There’s an excellent bit about tax payer arenas, how the Steinbrenners made their money, Bush’s shady dealings as Rangers owner, etc.

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