Corporate Welfare

If You Wonder Why Your Local Government is Dead Broke, Check Out This Story About Publicly Funded Stadiums

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The greater Cincinnati area is in the shitter. It's had a weak economy for decades and it's in a state and part of the country that isn't lighting the world on fire. And the local big-wigs have piled on by spending over a billion dollars in recent memory on stadiums for the Reds and Bengals that have done nothing to help the local economy (though the stadiums did soak up huge amounts of finance money and acres of prime river-adjacent real estate).

Here's an update on the mental retardation at work:

Wednesday is the proclaimed deadline for the Reds and Bengals to say whether they would help cover the county's more than $1 billion cost of building their stadiums.

Not only are there no agreements in place, a lawyer for the Bengals said the team and the county haven't talked about possible concessions—which all three Hamilton County Commissioners say are a vital part of the plan to plug a deficit projected to top $700 million by 2032—in 10 months.

The Bengals sent a letter to the county in October offering $40 million in concessions but asked for a change in the lease that could possibly allow the team to leave in 2017. A Bengals lawyer said Tuesday the team has never gotten a response to the letter.

"There is nothing new or different since then," said Stuart Dornette.

Dornette added the team had thought the county wanted to move quickly.

"We tried to respond to that in a timely fashion and the line went dead," he said. "I think we gave up waiting."

County Administrator Patrick Thompson said Monday negotiations with both teams about concessions have been going on for months. He refused to say what—if anything—the teams have offered to help offset the deficit.

More here.

This sort of story is mind boggling. A billion bucks to create Xanadus for wealthy team owners? Then not following up on (an incredibly cheapskate) $40 million buyback (with an escape clause in it, because by 2017 the Bengals are really gonna want to move to Louisville if they don't get a brand-new stadium in which to suck)?

If you ever wonder why your local area is broke down and busted, it's probably because you have people running things who are every bit as stoopid as the folks glimpsed in the story above.

And for the record, having a professional sports franchise in your area is a net drag on your local economy, to the tune of about $40 per person in terms of local GDP. Watch and learn: