NY pols bemoan stadium subsidies

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Yanks exile Shelley to AAA

The coolest construction picture you’ll see all day. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Chalk this one up to the “too little, too late” department.

One day after word leaked about the Yanks’ intentions to seek more money to fund their stadium construction, New York’s elected represented hopped up on their soap boxes with vows of “never again.” Never again will they allow such a high amount of public funds to go toward sports franchises. Never again will backroom deals be allowed to carry the day. Color me skeptical.

Now while I’m no fan of Richard Brodsky or Hakeem Jeffries, these two Assemblymen are right to question the Yankee Stadium funding plans. Via the AP:

Three state Assembly members from New York City called for a public hearing to examine a proposal to provide public support for one the richest franchises in sports.

“These sports teams are private companies that appear addicted to keeping their hands in the government cookie jar,” said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn.

Brodsky, meanwhile, is going a bit overboard with the rhetoric, but he too brings up some valid points. As The Sun reports, Brodsky compared these tax deals to Soviet Russia. “These decisions are being made in secret in these Soviet-style meetings and it is outrageous,” he said. More compelling are Brodsky’s arguments about the state of the New York economy:

“What’s at stake here is a much bigger issue than whether you like or dislike the Yankee Stadium deal,” Brodsky said. “Stadiums [are] soaking a lot of the tax-exempt financing, and we can’t fund the capital plan of the MTA and we’re short capital money on schools and hospitals.”

While there are myriad reasons why the state can’t fund the MTA’s capital plan — legislative neglect, the downfall of congestion pricing, Brodsky’s own refusal to dole out the funds — his overall message is a valid one. The state is not in a fiscal position where it should be giving more funding breaks out to its wealthy sports institutions.

As Charles Bagli wrote in The Times today, the end game of this debate will probably lead to cost increases across the board for projects of this nature with the potential rule changes impacting the Atlantic Yards development, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. But somehow I think the sports franchises will worm the money out of the public coffers one way or another.

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Anatomy of a trade rumor
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  • Casper

    Ben – Just a heads-up – I emailed the NYT article to you a few hours ago and I just received an email saying the connection was refused by riveraveblues.com. Sent it from webmail at work so it might be an issue with my email, just letting you know in case it’s an issue with riveraveblues email.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Thanks for that heads up, Casper. I’ll poke around and see if we’re experiencing any problems.

  • Joey

    Shelley down the former Attn. Gen up for the series (or longer I guess)

    • Joey

      oops, wrong thread, meant to go in the trade rumors one… sorry!

  • Bobar

    Brodsky opposed congestion pricing. Even if he is right about stadium financing, that still makes him more villain than do-gooder.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Depends on your geography and perspective. I live and work in the Yankee Stadium neighborhood, and congestion pricing would have turned the South Bronx into one huge parking lot for Manhattanites, squeezing out the local residents. The Mayor’s proposed plan to solve that problem was to issue parking permits to Bronx (and presumably, Brooklyn and Queens) residents to charge them like $100 a month to park on their own city streets. So even if we didn’t take our cars downtown (for those who work in the city), we had to pay more money to park in our own neighborhood. And this is just one of many similar screw-job stories.

      Congestion pricing was not some godsend. It was full of logistical and legal holes and was little more than a quick money grab scheme by Bloomberg to try and cover the anticipated budget crunch the City’s going to have for FY09 and FY10. The Feds had a pile of cash and Bloomy wanted to draft whatever plan he had to to get his hands on it… I guarantee it wouldn’t have caused more congestion, parking, and traffic problems as it solved and wouldn’t have improved the environment one bit. The huge, gigantic log missing from the fire was mass transit incentives. Making it costlier to drive around NYC isn’t going to change things unless you also make it an absolute steal of a bargain to take the trains and buses…

  • Russell NY

    The state should just take money away from Citi Field and give it to the Yankees. Who needs Citi Field anyway?

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona Beach

    Why are the Polish people upset?