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Delayed Stadium Vote is a Welcome Sign of Fiscal Sanity

Posted Nov. 3, 2008 / Posted by: admin

Contact: Chris Weiss, 202-222-0746

The baseball stadium lease collapsed yesterday because a majority of the DC Council recognizes that a “stadium at any cost” is fiscally risky and does not reflect the priorities of DC residents, according to the No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign.

 

The Council members who refused to support this unfair deal should be applauded for their courageous decision and should be encouraged to hold firm as pressure mounts to pass the lease. 

 

Like these Council members, the No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign is alarmed that stadium costs have risen 25% -- from $535 million to $667 million – in just the past month.  While most cities that negotiate stadium deals require the team to cover cost overruns, the District currently has no such protections.  MLB’s recent offer of $20 million covers only 3% of stadium costs.  Academic observes say that this deal is the most generous toward MLB in more than a decade.

 

Mayor Williams needs to stop pretending that stadium costs do not matter.  DC residents apparently do not agree, and they do not buy the argument that a stadium is essential to DC’s economic future.  Instead, investments in schools, health care, and other basic services are most critical.

 

Rather than “tweaking” the lease with “technical” changes, MLB or the new team owner should be required to cover all stadium costs above the $535 million budget set a year ago.  All stadium-related must be covered, including bond issuance fees and infrastructure.

 

“Today we celebrate a great victory for fiscal sanity, and we thank the DC Council members who stood up for us,” said John Capozzi of the No DC Taxes for Baseball Campaign.  “But stopping a bad deal does not mean we have a good deal yet.  We will continue to work with the DC Council to get a fair stadium deal for DC.”

 

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