Local Tea Partiers Oppose This Giant, Secret Waste of Tax Dollars.
The GOP establishment in Cobb County, Georgia wants to spend upwards to $600 million in local tax dollars to help the Atlanta Braves move north of downtown Atlanta. They say it will bring new development and increased economic activity to the area. Tea Partiers, however, say this is a waste of tax dollars and it isn’t the government’s job to join in capitalist projects.
The establishment GOP says their argument is simple. As detailed by the AP, Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee and his supporters say that “almost $400 million in county bonds and immediate infrastructure improvements, with debt payments approaching $600 million over 30 years–will generate enough economic activity and, thus, tax revenue to justify the spending.”
Lee imagines that this huge outlay of tax money is a “home run” for his county. Local tea party leaders thoroughly disagree.
This is all “appalling hypocrisy” and “arrogance” on behalf of the county operatives, says Atlanta Tea Party Leader Debbie Dooley.
Interestingly, Dooley has joined a coalition of local left-wingers to whom she would normally be in 100% opposition. They all oppose this deal because it is fraught with secretive financial agreements and deals made in private meeting that were held outside the sunlight of public scrutiny.
Establishment Republicans in the county government are frustrated with the attacks of the tea party groups opposing their big government spending scheme.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said, “There’s no one who’s more Republican and fiscally conservative than me.” But, “This is a no-brainer,” she claimed.
Birrell said that the secret, backroom deals had to be made or the city of Atlanta would have jumped up and offered incentives for the ball team to stay right where they are.
But tea partier Dooley says that these actions by government are simply illicit. “The government is not supposed to pick winners and losers,” she said. “This is anything but free-market.”
The secret deal calls for a $672 million stadium to be built that will open in 2017. Supposedly the tax payers would be on the hook for $300 million of that cost. The tax payers would also be forced to pay an additional $24 million to improve local infrastructure to support the increased traffic, water use, etc. The county’s annual debt payments would be a total of $537 million over 30 years.
As to the costs of upkeep and maintenance of the new stadium, Commissioner Lee claims that the taxpayers would be stuck for half those costs in perpetuity.
All this adds up to proof that Cobb County establishment Republicans are simply lying when they say all the taxpayers would have to pay is the $300 million quoted above.
Now, let’s tell the truth, here, shall we? These sports stadium deals are never, ever good for the tax payer. These wasteful deals never bring the economic improvement that supporters claim and the stadium facilities themselves cost millions and millions every single year for the constant costs of maintenance that naturally occur with such facilities.
It is always, always a bad deal for the tax payers to give sports welfare to big league sports teams of every stripe.
Georgia, if you want economic growth, stay OUT of the sports business.