Maybe it’s the libertarian in me. Maybe it’s the reaction I had yesterday listening to a mom who works in my office complain that the public high school her son will be attending next year requires payment of a thousand dollars for him to participate in the band while the state legislature continues to whack the hell out of the education budget…
The recession and a sluggish economic recovery, meanwhile, crunched Georgia’s state budget and forced deep cuts into areas like education. The state owes local school districts more than $5 billion collectively — Atlanta-area school districts are millions of dollars short. In 2011, the state cut $403 million from its education budget after taking cuts of $300 million and $275 million in the previous two years.
… but the idea that the state is going to hand over $300 million dollars in tax revenue so the Falcons can enjoy a new, more profitable home offends the crap out of me. Jeff Schultz is right – it’s not that Arthur Blank is a villain or merely even a lousy owner – the Georgia Dome works just fine. If the Falcons want to make more money, Blank should do it the old-fashioned way.
Of course, who am I kidding here? Not myself, certainly. Blank is doing it the old-fashioned way. It’s just another reflection of our out-sized vision of the role of organized sports in our society and our government as enabler of same. It’s how you get college football coaches who are routinely among the highest paid state employees across the country. We may not get the priorities we deserve, but we do tend to get the ones we like.
Just remember to take some pride in it when the first SECCG rolls into town at the new facility (which will boast less seating than the Dome, by the way). After all, in one form or fashion, you will have helped pay for it.