Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anatomy of a Flim-Flam

JC Bradbury exposes how a supposedly taxpayer-friendly stadium deal works to fleece the locals:
Make no mistake about it, the coming tax increase is tied directly to the funding of the new ballpark. The county may shuffle funds around so that the stadium does not directly receive any of this money, as new tax revenue can be used to replace redirected funds to cover the stadium. But, the result is still the same: the stadium will cause taxes to go up . . .

. . . Though the commissioners play coy, their secretive actions indicate that they are fully aware that the path they have chosen will result in higher taxes for citizens of Gwinnett. If they are being so obvious in their deception on this issue, I wonder what is going on in other areas of the budget where the money trail is not so easy to follow.
What JC is describing is the deal for the Braves' AAA stadium in Gwinnett County. Given the lower dollars involved and suburban setting, one can assume that the men behind this fraud on the taxpayers aren't as skilled at hiding the financial truth as are their big city brethren.

Ask yourself: if there is this much nonsense going on in Gwinnett County, what's going on in Fremont? Or Miami?


Anonymous said...

I live in the next county over from Gwinnett and am thrilled that I will be able to see AAA ball after a 15-20 minute drive (instead of the 90+ minutes it takes to get to the Ted) while my neighbors across the river foot the bill. I moved here fairly recently from another southern city that had just obtained a AA franchise. I can't begin to tell you how much fun those games are and, compared to MLB, how much cheaper to attend.

I wish these folks were a little more forthright: "We think that the stadium deal will be close to a break even proposition, but it certainly will cost our citizens something. However, in the long run, we believe the non-economic factors outweigh the relatively slight economic impact." Craig, you know this from litigation: what you try to hide comes out and looks so much worse than it would if you are up front about it.

Shyster said...

No doubt, anon. Unfortunately, expedient politicians have created such an anti-tax culute in this country that they have effectively prevented themselves from taking such positions, and instead feel the need to resort to shell games.

My personal view: unless the populace is getting tangible, legitimate financial benefits from a stadium deal (which never happens, but still) there should be no public financing. If there is to be public financing, however, the least they can do is be up front with citizens about the costs and benefits.

I suspect that, in the end, there are many who would still support such financing, even if crumudgeons like me don't.

Pete Toms said...

I agree with Craig but admit to selfishness and hypocricy.

I think building stadiums / arenas for the benefit of private enterprise is bad use of public money. Having said that...in the 27 years I have lived here ( Ottawa ) the only matter that I have contacted my municipal government over is the publicly owned baseball stadium. Screw the non baseball fans here ( virtually everyone ), I want pro ball.

More and more people have cottoned on to the hose that is publicly funded stadia. Consequently we are seeing public money " dressed up " differently in projects ( minor and major ) around the US.