Sports

"Dedicated" Stadium Fund Not so Dedicated After All

|

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) is proposing to eliminate restrictions on the use of $50 million from the city's Ballpark Revenue Fund. He wants to use the money to pay down the city's deficit.

The Fund—filled by a tax on local businesses—was established to service the debt on the shiny new baseball stadium that the District's residents were forced to buy (and that has been sucking at baseballfailing to stimulate the local economy as promised, and refusing to pay its bills ever since). The city council votes on the idea tomorrow.

Fenty, by the way, was against public financing of stadiums, before he was for it, before he was against it again.

The Tax Foundation's David Splinter sorta-kinda defends Fenty's proposal by noting that dedicated funds can encourage waste:

While protecting funds may help approximate a user fee, it could also lead to wasteful spending.  For example, an appropriately set tax on cars could exactly pay for the road damage they cause. If the road tax is set too high then roads may be unnecessarily repaved just to spend down the dedicated fund. 

The Foundation claims that this story reveals "the difficulty in making tax dollars less fungible." Of course, if the city council hadn't promised away taxpayer dollars to fund the stadium in the first place, the debate would just be academic. Alas.

Reason has been a stadium skeptic since the beginning. Back in 2005, Dennis Coates lamented the sweetheart deal DC gave to Major League Baseball, and Matt Welch catalogued the lies upon which Nationals Stadium was built. Reason.tv asked whether publicly financed stadiums are really worth the cost:

NEXT: The Good News: Your Record Was Expunged. The Bad News: Your Record Was Expunged.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ha ha ha. That $50 million will be about $1.1 million for each win the Nationals get this year.

  2. Can we advocate changing the Nationals’ mascot from that dumb eagle into a giant withering teat?

  3. Naw, Bunny, the mascot should be an anus-shaped fountain that is wheeled out onto the field between innings, and then just shits and shits all over the people in the stands.

  4. Xeones,

    Your idea intrigues me. How do they clean the shit off the field? Or is it just the fans that get shit on?

  5. Technically, should it shit on people who aren’t in the stands. The ones who don’t care about baseball and had to pay anyway?

  6. Here’s a compromise: keep the eagle, but have it fly around and shit on people.

  7. Another point to ponder . . .

    Will Warty be kept away from the giant anus or will Warty be banned from all games?

  8. Will Warty be kept away from the giant anus or will Warty be banned from all games?

    The first part is impossible, so the second part is as well.

  9. And where the fuck is Flappy?

  10. Who do you think is going to design it, Naga?

  11. And it’s not like having a shit-covered field will make the Nats play worse.

  12. Well, that depends on whether the Nationals have been practicing in shit or not. It could explain why they are so awful. They’re just waiting til the anus is ready.

  13. They could have a place in center field to keep the anus during play, and use it as a target for giveaways: “If the Nats hit the anus, you could win $600!”

  14. Warty fucking a giant anus-shaped shitcannon would be a 1000 times more entertaining than anything that’s happened in a baseball park in decades.

  15. “If the Nats hit the anus, you could win $600 in Ballpark Scratch-n-Sniff ShitBucks!”

    “Daddy, Daddy! I want a ShitCone!”

    “Sorry, honey. We only have enough ShitBucks left for a bag of asspeanuts.”

  16. If only baseball was more like murderball it wouldn’t need a giant anus-shaped shitcannon for entertainment or a Warty fucking it.

    *sigh*

  17. If wheelchair rugby were actually awesome, people who aren’t crippled would play it.

  18. FrBunny,

    I’ve seen enough clips to know I wouldn’t find it awesome if I ever got a chance to go to a match. Its great to watch the hits on youtube though. And I stand by my statement its more awesome than baseball. Maybe you just need a better clip.

  19. I was just at Nationals Park this past weekend. It’s a park with excellent sight lines and good food choices: hey, it even has a Five Guys! Clearly it was built on the cheap, and isn’t anywhere near as nice as (say) Camden Yards from an aesthetic viewpoint, but as a place to hang out or watch a game, it was fine. Despite the suckiness on the field.

    Hang out, you say? Yes I do. My buddy and I walked up to the gate about 5 minutes before the game and were forced to buy the $10 tickets because the $5 tickets had already sold out. That’s like a cover charge at a nightclub, and instead of going into a seizure from flashing lights, loud music, and ugly, ugly women, you get to drink good beer outside under the sun with some actual entertainment available, should you decide to glance at the field occasionally. I’d say about 1/4 of the people at the stadium were hanging out by the bars, paying zero attention to the game.

    I guess I have one objection: I do not understand why the government is funding the clubbing scene.

  20. Hang out, you say? Yes I do. My buddy and I walked up to the gate about 5 minutes before the game and were forced to buy the $10 tickets because the $5 tickets had already sold out.

    I thought I read that there were ample opportunities outside the stadium to buy tickets for ultra cheap.

    I have one friend who still ponies up for Nats tickets, but the other baseball lovers I know still trek up to Camden Yards, and the guys who just want the occasional fun night at a game go to one of the minor-league teams around here, such as the Bowie BaySox–the tickets and beers are far cheaper, and the stadium smaller and friendlier.

  21. Naga,

    My IT overlords won’t let me on YouTube. Still, I have no objection whatsoever your claim that wheelchair rugby is better than baseball. Attaching any level of “awesome” to either stretches the term, though.

    Let’s go with “neat”. As in:

    “Ted Turner gave us CNN.”
    “Awesome!”
    “And TNT.”
    “Neat.”

  22. Out of curiousity, can anyone think of a single instance of a road that is paved too well and too often? I mean, anywhere in the US?

  23. TNT was best when it had Joe Bob Briggs hosting MonsterVision. After that, not so much.

    I don’t miss Turner South so much, but I do miss Junkin’. Damn, that was a good show.

  24. Agreed FrBunny. Honestly, I don’t know why I argue with you. I must need counseling or something. 😉

  25. > Out of curiousity, can anyone think of a single instance of a road that is paved too well and too often? I mean, anywhere in the US?

    Sure. The Road to Hell.

  26. I must be dense, but since when has a shitty baseball team been a necessary part of infrastructure that only the government can take care of?

    Only 5 of the 30 MLB teams don’t have publicly funded stadiums. The only two of those built within the past half century are Busch Stadium and Turner Field. That’s just kinda interesting.

    I like baseball plenty, but I would rather have half way decent roads that don’t jar my fillings loose every time I go to the grocery store instead of a baseball team with state-of-the-art stadium.

  27. Nats Park hasn’t nailed down a corporate sponsor yet. Might I suggest Tootsie Pops, cause, just like DC’s team, “they last.”

    Kevin

  28. If the road tax is set too high then roads may be unnecessarily repaved just to spend down the dedicated fund.

    Apply this statement to government and taxation in its entirety, and I’m sold.

  29. The mascot’s name is “Screech”, and according to his Wikipedia page:

    A nine-year-old fourth grade student in Washington, Glenda Gutierrez, designed the mascot and won a contest sponsored by the team, explaining that it was “strong and eats almost everything.”

    Sounds like a perfect mascot for the home of our federal government.

  30. That mascot looks like something you meet at a support group for men with testicular cancer.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.