Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I say this as a serious and devoted sports fan

Is there any sense to Michael Bloomberg's obsession with giving away city land at cut-rate prices for sports stadiums?

Loot, Loot, Loot for the Home Team – Good Jobs New York(PDF)

Major findings

Direct and indirect subsidies could exceed $480 million. Public officials and team executives have stressed that the Yankees would cover the $800 million cost of constructing the new stadium, with the city and state contributing about $210 million for replacement parks, parking garages, and infrastructure improvements. But the taxpayer costs are far higher: the Yankees would not be required to pay rent, property taxes, mortgage recording taxes, or sales tax on construction materials. The city and state would also issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the stadium’s construction, generating tax-free income for the bond buyers. These additional subsidies will cost taxpayers far more than what has been reported.

The new stadium will not generate enough revenue to cover its cost to taxpayers. The public costs of the project will exceed the stadium’s contribution to the city’s economy over a 30 year period, as estimated by a report commissioned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. This finding is consistent with countless previous studies by academic economists who have found that revenues created by new stadiums, especially replacement facilities, do not result in significant economic growth.

Subsidizing this stadium is a costly and inefficient strategy for creating jobs. Even by the city’s account, many of the “permanent jobs” created by this project will be seasonal and low-wage. Compared to other uses of the money, it is difficult to justify spending and foregoing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for poorly compensated jobs such as ticket takers, ushers, vendors, restaurant workers, and parking lot attendants. Jobs such as these would not effectively address the alarmingly high rates of poverty and unemployment in the stadium’s South Bronx community – the U.S. Congressional district with the nation’s highest rate of poverty.


The state-legislated seizure of two parks – Macomb’s Dam Park and sections of John Mulally Park – sent shockwaves through the area. Together they function as the South Bronx’s Central Park, and Macomb’s Dam Park would be entirely lost to the stadium and parking garages. The Bronx Borough President and local officials seek to plan replacement parks, but these plans have fallen short of what the community currently has. Instead, smaller parks would be sprawled about the area of Yankee stadium. New recreational space is even proposed for the roofs of the parking garages, not ideal for a neighborhood with one of the highest asthma rates in the city. Other new park space would have to compete with the sounds of elevated subways and shadows from the new stadium.

Maybe it's a scrawny,-short-little-Jew-insecure-about-his-masculinity thing. Maybe it's a rich-guy-doesn't-care-about-screwing-poor-people thing. Or does he really believe his own bullshit?

"The government is here to facilitate development in the city," he said. "We don't do subsidies." He added, "The city is getting paid back at a profit."

We don't do subsidies? Is he serious?

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  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Wait, the EDC said that? The EDC is incredibly pro-business and, I had always thought, in the pockets of Big Real Estate. I'm surprised, though I guess good businesspeople can spot bad deals.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I think they're citing the EDC for the total benefit of the project

    According to the analysis conducted by Economic Research Associates for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the cumulative fiscal contribution of the new ballpark would be about $225 million to the city, state, and Metropolitan Transit Authority over the next 30 years.

    and their own numbers for the costs, which are higher than the ones used by EDC. EDC does support the project. See, for example, their press release here.

  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Ah, the sentence you originally quoted is slightly misleading, then, since it implies that the EDC's estimates of the costs will exceed the EDC's estimates of the economic contribution.

    But I forgive them, since there's such overwhelming consensus among economists about the basic point: new stadiums are insanely expensive money pits.


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