Not-so perverse thought of the day

You know, in the vast scheme of things, Mack Brown getting a big raise from an athletic department generating record revenues bothers me a helluva lot less than this.

… In 1996, voters in Hamilton County approved an increase of half of one percent in the sales tax that promised to build and maintain stadiums for the Bengals and the Reds, pay Cincinnati’s public schools and give homeowners an annual property tax rebate. The stadiums were supposed to spur development of the city’s dilapidated riverfront.

But sales tax receipts have fallen so fast in the last year that the county is now scrambling to bridge a $14 million deficit in its sales tax fund. The public schools, which deferred taking their share for years, want their money.

The teams have not volunteered to rewrite their leases. So in the coming weeks, the county plans to cut basic services, lower its legal bills and drain a bond reserve fund with no plan for paying it back.

Yep, politics and organized sports – everyone’s a winner.

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4 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

4 responses to “Not-so perverse thought of the day

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I gotta go for the opposing point of view on this one Senator. These sweetheart stadium deals are local government decisions, not mandates from far off state or federal capitols. Local government should be fairly well equipped to do these kinds of things. They’ll have to ride out the bad times.

    FWIW, it probably isn’t just the stadium authority that’s refusing to give any concessions. If you look at the budget funded by sales tax, I bet you’d find a few equally discretionary line items (e.g. parks & arts) whose proponents won’t budge either.

    It looks especially bad when a sports deal goes South, hungry children & all that, but in substance the deals are similar to the enticements given to widget manufacturers to build a new plant.

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    • Your last comment is dead on, HS.

      But if you think there aren’t giveaways to organized sports at higher levels, I invite you to take a look at the US Tax Code sometime. Particularly the rules on depreciation.

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      • rbubp

        The only problem with the “widget manufacturers” is that those widgeteers don’t tend to hold cities hostage for billions because they need a new stadium once every 10-15 years. (The exception being Jerrah, of course, who will charge it on the back end.)

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