I would urge everyone BEHIND public financing of the proposed baseball stadium, for you to first study the body of data, research and analysis that is the touch of a finger away. Several major studies are included as links below.
What has happened too often here is that the people only get to hear ONE SIDE OF THE STORY, and it is dominated by the cronyism culture that continues to think the public taxpayer should be forced to invest in the projects that enrich a few private interests who get the big "win" in such projects.
Can't these pro-spend politicians hear the dissonance in an argument that starts, "Well, we cannot do this on the taxpayer funded and operated baseball stadium at UNCW because they do not allow alcohol sales".......followed by, "This is an important addition to bring a positive family activity to downtown in the evening, that is something besides the bars." The way minor league teams make a substantial amount of their income is concessions. The point of a modern stadium is to keep all the money spectators are spending within the stadium, not in the area around it. Most new stadiums contain larger parking, restaurant, souvenir, and other concession facilities. This reduces the amount of spillover benefits in the neighboring community. Political decisions involving such issues are likely to reflect the interests of special-interest groups rather than the interests of the entire community. Those with a large financial gain have a strong incentive to lobby for public investment in municipal stadiums while each individual taxpayer has much less incentive to become involved in this political process, and more importantly, “THE FUNDERS” of the political class tend to be the wealthy special interests pulling for the stadium, and they intentionally do not put forth any counter-points to all their positive economic development spin. I sure hope the local pols don't ram this baseball project through with no fair hearing to the "against" business case, waiting to be educated about THE TRUTH of the so-called "pro-business" benefits to the community, like has happened on issues like Titan, the megport and others. I applaud the county commish's for running away from the city on this (I guess everyone except for Jason, who is counter the rest of the group (and vast majority of the citizens he was elected to represent) on many other issues as he is no longer running for office. Unlike Mr. Davis, who seemed genuinely disturbed by the bill of goods he and the others were 'sold" as a race for their vote on Titan incentives was brought to the public eye four years ago. If the project is legitimate, prove it. Dispel the case made in many of these studies---at least acknowledge that you can be quite the pro-Wilmington resident/taxpayer, but NOT for the taxpayer funded (in full or in part) stadium. I think a better use of money and a better year-round revenue generator would be a great movie multiplex, maybe with a trendy bowling alley in it. It could be a great site for Cucalorus, and major productions throughout the year that appeal to all age groups, with weather not an issue, nor a short season. I bet a study of such a project compared to a stadium would be very interesting, in terms of revenues/profits....except, it is a hard play for a developer to ENTICE a government to build the movie multiplex complex with taxpayer money! But baseball? Big boys get as silly as little boys with their business case including, "can you imagine how cool to see people hitting home runs into the river?!" Please. Think about it. We would never build this developer a movie multiplex, but it could draw more people year round and generate more concession revenues than any baseball field! I mean, you've been to the movies lately yes?!
"Taxpayer-subsidized Sports Facilities: Who Pays, Who Wins?"
While the beginning of this article provides an argument against sports stadiums, the bulk of this document consists of an extensive bibliography of articles and books that deal with this issue.
• Joanna Cagan and Neil Demause, "Field of Schemes"
This web site contains information on the current status of sports stadiums that are being built or rebuilt using public subsidies. As the title of this website suggests, the authors are opposed to the use of public subsidies for these projects. Of particular interest is their page entitled: "The Sports Swindle Ticker."
• Daniel Sutter, "Public Subsidies for Sports Stadiums Don't Spur Economic Growth"
In this Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs article, Daniel Sutter provides a critical examination of the use of subsidies for the construction of new stadiums. He argues that the construction of new stadiums diverts consumer spending from other forms of entertainment without increasing the total level of consumer spending.
• Ronald D. Utt, "Cities in Denial: The False Promise of Subsidized Tourist and Entertainment Complexes"
In this October 2, 1998 Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, Ronald Utt argues that subsidized public investment in stadiums and similar tourist and entertainment facilities has not been a profitable strategy
• Heartland Institute, "Sports Stadium Madness"
This website contains links to an extensive collection of studies that indicate that public investment in sports stadiums provide few benefits for municipalities.
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