Sunday, January 15, 2017

Posts Like This, If Misinterpreted, Can Make Me Sound Like A Class-Envy Liberal

I lived in Alameda County when Al Davis moved the Raiders from Los Angeles back to Oakland.  I didn't live in Oakland, I lived in the Fremont/Newark area, about a half an hour drive away.  Still, though, my taxes went up to build "Mount Davis", an addition to the Oakland Coliseum that allowed for more people to attend Raiders games.

Sacramento has just finished building the Golden 1 (Credit Union) Center for the Sacramento Kings.  Living in suburban Sacramento County in a different incorporated city, I'm glad the county didn't decide to tax me to build that arena so that rich people could get richer.

This position is actually very conservative.

This is how such things are sold:  they'll raise the sales tax, for instance, a half a cent for 15 years to raise the needed revenue that the city (or whatever governmental level is kicking in) will put towards the new stadium/arena.  The justification is that this will be good for the city/county, as it will bring in tourists and diners, etc., and their expenditures will help the economy and their sales taxes will be good for the government.  This is called an "investment".

If I'm paying for this investment, when do I get my return?  Here's how it should work, if government is going to kick in money at all:  You raise the sales tax half a cent for 15 years.  At the end of that 15 years, not only does that half a cent tax go away, but so does another half a cent--after all, all that tax money that the stadium/arena is bringing in should have the governmental coffers overflowing, shouldn't it?  Shouldn't government--the people--get back that money they "invested"?  Keep the sales tax a half a cent lower than it was originally, and do it for the same 15 year time period.  If this isn't justified economically, then the government shouldn't be helping fund private entities like sports leagues in the first place.  (But I'd say don't do it anyway, because that's not the purpose of government at any level.)

But Darren, you say, you just don't like the Kings!  You want Sacramento to go back to being a cow town!  To which I reply, if the Kings are the only thing keeping Sacramento from being a cow town, then we're already a cow town--with a basketball team.  Honestly, I don't care if the Kings stay in Sacramento or not, they don't impact my life in the slightest, but I'd resent having to pay more in taxes to keep them here.

I didn't get anything out of my paying more taxes for Mount Al Davis.  I wouldn't get anything out of paying more taxes for the Golden 1 Center, had Sacramento County (not City) wanted to tax me more for it. 

I'm not the only person who thinks this way:
The people of San Diego won by losing.

Chargers owner Dean Spanos did the corporate equivalent of taking his ball and going home Thursday, bolting for Los Angeles because San Diego residents had balked at building his team a fancy new stadium. Imagine the nerve of those people! Refusing to spend millions for a stadium that, studies have shown, would likely end up costing taxpayers more than what is originally estimated while providing less in return...

But he (Dean Spanos) and pretty much every other owner think they’re owed civic welfare as a show of gratitude for their benevolence in owning a sports franchise. Franchises that already line owners’ pockets with millions of the public’s money each year in the form of merchandise, ticket sales, concessions and parking, mind you...

Yes, it’s devastating to lose a team that has been part of the city’s identity for more than a half-century, and Chargers fans were understandably outraged at being jilted. In the hours after Spanos made his announcement, fans littered the sidewalk in front of the team’s headquarters with jerseys and other now-unwanted merchandise.

But if there’s anything that has become clear in all of these money grabs – and stay strong, Oakland, because you’re next – it’s that teams really don’t give a damn about their fans. So long as there are suckers in another town so blinded by the prospect of having a professional franchise that they don’t read the fine print, teams will view their fans as little more than lines on a balance sheet.

That’s not being part of the fabric of a community, that’s blackmail.
Yeah, what she said.


Anonymous said...

Not wanting the government to pay and favor specific corporations, and thus forcing taxpayers to make up the money, is easily a conservative position and it baffles me anyone thinks otherwise. At the very least this stuff should be put to a vote if the citizens of a city are willing to fund something like this.

Pseudotsuga said...

This is the exact same reason why Seattle no longer has a pro basketball team-- they didn't want to build their own facility and demanded that the taxpayers pony up. When they didn't, the Sonics took their ball and went...somewhere else where people wanted to signal their coolness by having a pro team.

Mike Thiac said...

Darren, I'm a bit disturbed at the NFL (and other major sports) demanding new stadiums, etc. Case in point, Atlanta Falcons. I remember 20 years ago the George Dome opened and it was, arguably, the finest stadium in the league (Jerry Jones would top it in a few years). Twenty years or so.

The Falcons are playing their last game there his weekend.

Nothing's wrong with it, but I still haven't gotten the reason why the Falcon's got an updated facility when they have their home which should be useful for another 20-30 years at least.

Hell, Soldier Field opened in 1924, Lambeau opened in 1957.

Darren said...

Soldier Field was completely rebuilt several years ago. They kept the colonnade, though.

Joshua Sasmor said...

Anonymous said: "Not wanting the government to pay and favor specific corporations, and thus forcing taxpayers to make up the money, is easily a conservative position and it baffles me anyone thinks otherwise. At the very least this stuff should be put to a vote if the citizens of a city are willing to fund something like this."

Pittsburgh did this in the late 1990s, to build both a football field (Heinz Field) and a baseball park (PNC Park). A one-cent tax increase was proposed in Allegheny county (where Pittsburgh is) and in all six of the surrounding counties. This referendum was voted down and so the city allocated current dollars from the regional asset development fund and then told the public that city parks and such would be shut down for lack of funding. So a one-cent sales tax increase, going directly to the RAD fund was approved. This was called Plan-B by the supporters and Scam-B by the detractors.

So much for the fact that the referendum to up the sales tax was voted down by a 4-to-1 margin (or higher). The politicians knew what they were going to spend our money on, and damn the opinions of the public.

Darren said...

They probably weren't voted out of office, either.

Ellen K said...

There was a study some years back citing how these monstrous stadiums never gave the economic growth intended or promised. The city of Arlington bought into the Jerry dome for the Cowboys and little of the satellite development has appeared. In a similar move Jones talked the city of Frisco into massive tax abatements to built The Star practice facility which is used for high school games when the Cowboys aren't practicing. As a result, the school district lost money, taxes went up on everyone else and a bond issue failed halting three major school district construction projects and freezing hiring. Arlington is on the stick again to build a covered stadium for the Rangers even though their current stadium isn't that old. It's getting ridiculous where sports teams use fan favor to outweigh economic common sense.