Miami Sucking-Sound Machine

Stadium welfare update from NBCmiami.com:

The price tag says $515 million, but by the time the new Marlins stadium is paid off 40 years from now, it will have cost a whopping $2.4 billion. [...]

Earlier estimates put the total costs at about $2 billion, but thanks to rising interest rates, the people of Miami-Dade will have to pony up even more for the field of dreams in Little Havana.

Suddenly, the $120 million the Marlins are contributing doesn't seem like very much.

No, it really doesn't. Particularly since A) the team has spent (if I'm not mistaken) less on payroll the past four years than any other major league team, a combined $104 million from 2006-2009, and not surprisingly B) has produced inferior (if occasionally promising) product, going 17 games under .500 during that stretch, even though C) Picasso-owning, 7,000-square-foot-Upper-East-Side-apartment-living team owner Jeffrey Loria has seen the value of his franchise rise to an estimated $277 million since he bought it for $158 million in 2002.

But most importantly, D) Miami-Dade County is staring at a $400 million budget shortfall, and most of its cities are facing deficits and contemplating the deadly recession-exacerbater of tax hikes/service cuts, all while unemployment looks poised to bust through double digits. Spending scarce tax dollars in this environment on a rich man's hobby, one enjoyed by a minority of the population, is flat obscene.

I've written previously about the Marlins stadium boondoggle here and here.

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  • ||

    Jeffrey Loria is the ultimate sports welfare queen.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Every local government seems to love to spend money subsidizing private businesses. We're dealing with that right now with our downtown redevelopment. Obviously, not on par with $2.4 billion, but it's happening in my back yard instead of all the way down in Miami. Hopefully, we can win the fight!

  • ||

    But, Matt, it's the Florida Marlins! Surely you can understand that a team with such rich history and timeless character needs to be supported. I mean, if they up and moved to San Juan, 5000 people might notice! Have you no soul?

  • Ska||

    *golf clap*

    Well done.

  • ||

    See, crap like this is what the General Welfare clause was supposed to prevent - the spending of tax revenues for the benefit of a single business or subset of the population.

    I know, I know, this is state/local, not federal, so the General Welfare clause doesn't apply. But prohibiting spending like this (at the federal level) is the actual purpose of the General Welfare clause, rather than authorizing the redistribution of wealth.

    I might point out that the General Welfare clause also prohibits bailing out or buying up individual companies, as well. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Government Motors.

  • ||

    You can't put a dollar value on civic pride!

  • ||

    Given the weather in Miami, the stadium oughtta be about ready for replacement at the end of those forty years.


    Good news is, ummmm

  • Hugh Akston||

    The price tag says $515 million, but by the time the new Marlins stadium is paid off 40 years from now, it will have cost a whopping $2.4 billion.

    Stimulus!

  • Your Dysfunctional Family Rest||

    "Every local government seems to love to spend money subsidizing private businesses"

    One could posit this is compensation to business given that the government takes their money in the first place.

  • Your Dysfunctional Family Rest||

    This is off-topic, but I was in Minneapolis yesterday on business (ergo Psycho Suzi's). I was in an office building on the main drag and the Lion's Club Int'l was in town. They had a parade. It went past the building I was in. It lasted four hours. I'm told there were 25,000 Lion's Club members visiting the city. They all marched in the parade (most anyway). They came from China, Romania, Australia, Russia, France, Columbia, Canada, etc.

    I had no idea the Lion's club was so huge. Given that, how come they never seem to come up in conspiracy theories? Just curious.

  • ||

    Are you sure they're not named in the manifestos of groups like Hamas? Rotary International is.

  • ||

    Just Say No.

  • ||

    Nyet.

  • David Pinto||

    I love coming to reason and finding baseball articles to which I can link!

  • SpongPaul||

    Public mone should not be used to finace stadiums. If the owners want all the glitz etc. then they need to bring payroll back down to earth, there is no sports figure who deserved to earn over say 200,000 on the high side to play a game, because if they wont do it for that someone else will! then they can reduce ticket prices to 10 bucks all over, bring in fans and merch sales and own thier own stadium which they can use in the off season non game days to rent out to get even more revenue. guess common sense aint so common!

  • ||

    Pretty tough to get worked up over "welfare queens" and the like in the face of this kind of crap. It is obscene. I don't think people should depend on the government for their livelihood and I hate the welfare state as much as the next guy, but there is something very disingenuous about "conservatives" who complain about "socialism" and paying tax dollars to "non-contributors" while we still have this kind of corporate welfare and rich people socialism. When these people and their well connected buddies stop gorging at the public trough, then their complaints about "socialism" will mean something.

  • Matt Welch||

    I love coming to reason and finding baseball articles to which I can link!

    And you will occasionally find comments by the one and only Voros McCracken!

  • Tomcat1066||

    One could posit this is compensation to business given that the government takes their money in the first place.

    They take my money as well. But they subsidize private entities at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers, showing preference for one entity over others.

  • ||

    Reason magazine, why do you hate America?

    Think of all of those great jobs for hot dog vendors, janitors, ticket takers, and mascots this will create.

  • ||

    I don't like it but I can't say I disagree with these owners going for everything they can get. They pay more in taxes than the rest of us make in salary combined.

    Chris Rock: "I wouldn'ta killed her...but I understand."

  • ||

    If the schedule makers were permitted to have the Marlins host the Mets for 75 games and slot the Marlins inter-league home games with three for the Red Sox and three for the Yankees, the Dade county taxpayers might be spared.

  • @#*&!||

    I don't know anyone who will be going to the games and no, none of them voted for Nixon either.

  • ||

    Reason magazine, why do you hate America?

    Think of all of those great jobs for hot dog vendors, janitors, ticket takers, and mascots this will create.


    No, it's Reason magazine, why do you hate Cuban immigrants. But really, how many hot dog vendors and ticket takers do you need when the team already draws precisely dick and you decided to place this behemoth in Little Havana where NO ONE WANTS TO GO to watch a baseball game.

  • ||

    I had no idea the Lion's club was so huge. Given that, how come they never seem to come up in conspiracy theories?

    Because they're just that good at Controlling the World.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    But just think about all of tax revenues this is going to generate. All of those hungry and thirsty fans being forced to buy $5.00 hot dogs and $10.00 beers (probably more), not to mention $15.00 parking. I'm sure the state has their greedy little fingers somewhere on that.

    Not to mention all the work for the construction unions (if there are any in Fla.) My personal favorite, was when the construction unions in Pittsburgh rigged a small knee wall to give way (not proven), during a playoff game (national media coverage), during a Steelers playoff game, at the time when new stadiums for Pitt and Philly were being debated in the State House. Coincidence?

  • ||

    If if saves just one child, it's worth it.

    Oops...wrong forum.

  • ||

    I have to agree with Nick. It's a relevant question to ask who is more at fault here, greedy business owners or government officials who are willing to give them money and favors.

  • ||

    Wait just a second here. Are you implying that every resident of Miami-Dade doesn't want to pony up $1,000 for the good of the county? Whew, didn't think I could type that with a straight face.

    Ha! There's a taxpayer born every minute.

  • ||

    A) B) C) and, most importantly, D) are *all* totally irrelevant to the question of whether taxpayers should be spending money on a stadium that primarily benefits a private owner.

    It shouldn't matter one bit if the Marlins had the *highest* payroll, the most wins, the best team, and if Miami were rolling in dough. Still shouldn't pay for it. I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but the way you frame the argument makes it seem like under those conditions it would be ok.

  • Rhywun||

    The sad part is, probably more than half of New Yorkers are tickled to death to shell out a couple billion for new sports stadiums this year, AND pay through the nose for the privilege of visiting them, too. Sigh. I hate sports.

  • ||

    I like good whiskey and bad women for entertainment. Where's my subsidy. I'm hardcore about this stuff. Ballparks, aquariums, the art museum, the symphony and the water park can support themselves or shut down.

    While I attend some of these venues, people who don't should not be required to pay for them.
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    Can some blue teamer show up to complain about how libertarians never complain about corporate welfare? They always seem to be missing from these threads.

  • polio robot||

    "The price tag says $515 million, but by the time the new Marlins stadium is paid off 40 years from now, it will have cost a whopping $2.4 billion."

    Sounds like one of those rent to own scams perpetrated on poor people who pay a lot of $ for a basic PC or a stereo, which they can't afford.

    I don't think we can afford professional sports anymore.

  • polio robot||

    What if they built a stadium and no one came to watch the performance? Would it make a sound?

  • polio robot||

    "there is no sports figure who deserved to earn over say 200,000 on the high side to play a game,"

    I remember a time when professional athletes would have another job in the off season because they couldn't make a living playing a game. It's about time we return to that level of pay so the owners can afford their own stadiums.

  • I, Kahn O\'Clast||

    Umm.... $515 million in 40 years at 4% (without any compounding!) is already $2.4 billion. In real terms, after the inflation we are likely to have, this will be a great deal...

    Seriously, someone should do a math check on the hysterics!.

  • johnl||

    Matt Welch you have been all over your old friends at the LAT for endorsing pretty much every bond boondogle on the way to bankruptcy. And good! But you haven't written at all about redevelopment and how much tax increment financing is costing us. The LAT is on the wrong side of pretty much every redevelopment project too. But I can't even figure out how much it costs. Who reports that?

    Your average Californian, even a somewhat informed one, is probably blissfully unaware that the state subsidises commercial realestate (over)development.

  • ||

    The only time people go see the Marlins is when a bigger team plays there. It's a total disgrace. This is NOT a baseball town. Man. Bostonians go and sit in tiny chairs behind poles in the freaking snow and rain to watch their team play, Miamian's can barely fill the seats at a Marlins game. It's a shame when the camera pans over the current stadium and all you see are empty orange seats and two old ladies eating hot dogs and waving. It's a joke.

  • Nike Dunk High||

    thanks

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