Sep 2, 2011, 11:33 AM EST
I know. I’m just as shocked as you are. I mean, the first several dozen instances of taxpayer-funded sports facilities failing to deliver on the politicians’ promises of economic growth may have failed miserably, but I was certain that it was gonna work this time:
The team’s poor showing has implications for Gwinnett taxpayers. The county gets $1 for every ticket sold and half the net parking proceeds – money it uses to help repay $33 million borrowed to build the stadium. Parking revenue last year was half of the $200,000 the county originally projected in 2008, while ticket revenue was near the $400,000 annual minimum guaranteed in Gwinnett’s contract with the Braves.
Look, if you’re gonna ask taxpayers to fund a ballpark, be honest. Admit that it’s a bauble. Admit that it is a recreation facility, not an economic juggernaut. Admit that it is a cost center, not a profit center, for the community. Hey, a lot of people will still want that. As a stinkin’ lefty I still try to convince myself that government can do stuff like that. I grew up in the 70s and I got used to institutional cinderblock rec centers and actually find them kind of comforting for some perverse reason.
But government should not be in the business of underwriting the private sector’s playthings. Read the article. Note that the team is profitable. Note that the taxpayers, however, are not getting what they were promised.
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