Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quote of the Week (Santa Clara joins the Wasteful Hall of Fame)

I had a few good items in mind for Quote of the Week last week, but then I never ended up getting around to writing the post. Well, that's too bad for those quotes (especially the one from Jim Grant, who I think was on fire in that CNBC interview), because this week I've got a new one, and it's a doozy.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember my mention of the Sacramento Kings' new arena deal, which includes a significant amount of city financing via a proposed parking garage plan. I have always thought that publicly-financed venues for private businesses represent the height of insanity--the team in question always enjoys any profits from the deal, while the city (or state) remains on the hook for any potential losses from the project (like, if people stopped going to Kings games, or if there was, you know, a work stoppage or something).

We've seen instances of privatized gains/socialized losses elsewhere in our nation, and it's pretty much never a good idea, particularly when municipal budgets are strained like never before (seriously, California, you folks out there should know better). And yet, the Sacramento deal isn't even the most insane sports arena project to be under consideration right now. In fact, it's not even the most insane project of its type in California. I give you the (recently spurned) San Francisco 49ers, with this week's Quote of the Week, regarding their proposed new stadium in Santa Clara.


"This will be a cutting-edge, new-technology building because we're in the heart of Silicon Valley. We believe we need a significant budget to pay for things not currently on the market."
                                    - Larry MacNeil, 49ers' Chief Financial Officer

Wow. "A significant budget to pay for things not currently on the market". So, a blank check from the government to spend on things that DON'T EVEN EXIST YET. That is literally taking the circus to the next level. Congratulations, Santa Clara... you guys win. I hope, for your sake, that tax revenues bounce back in a big way and you can actually afford these imaginary luxuries that the 49ers want to charge you all large sums of money to come enjoy. Uh-oh...

Well done, California. You continue to amaze me.

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