We commend to your attention the first-rate column by Jim Dwyer, Breaking With History In the Bronx, N.Y. Times, Apr. 4, 2009, at p. A12. Dwyer contrasts historical financing of sports stadiums with today’s municipal profligacy in support of professional sports franchise owners — notably and most recently the new Yankee Stadium that we blogged about recently in Whatever Happened to Exactions in New York? March 28, 2009. Check it out.
Dwyer gives us a concise insight into how the great stadiums were built in the past — with private money risked by those stadiums’ entrepreneur-owners, not by fleecing municipal taxpayers for the unabashed benefit of gazillionaiire sports franchisee owners and their multi-millionaire players.
Probably the best part of Dwyer’s column is its review of accurate historical predictions that any financial support for professional sports stadiums would become a slippery slope costing the taxpayers of New York fortunes and resulting in ongoing city deficits. And that’s just what happened.
We usually conclude such news items with the sarcastic observation “Your tax money at work,” but things have gone beyond anything that can be properly addressed by mere sarcasm — this is getting deadly serious. The cold fact is that our debt-ridden, bankrupt society can no longer afford such feats of municipal profligacy. It adds insult to injury for city officials to relieve the stdium owners of their municipal tax liability, and then rattle a tin cup and demand federal rescue money, all for the benefit of billionnaire stadium owners who — if nothing else — neither need nor deserve such public handouts.