Update 23:45: The Ohio 12 special election results have changes and the gap between the two candidates has narrowed to 1564 votes. From the Cincinnati Enquirer, this is what to expect: 1,564: Balderson’s margin of victory in the unofficial, final results Tuesday 3,435: The number of provisional ballots to be counted. These include people who …
Aug 14 2015
Last month John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” focused his laser with on the boondoggle of tax payer funded sports stadiums. The practice goes on even though it is a losing proposition for the cities that just lines the pockets of the extremely wealthy franchise owners. In states and cities that are going broke, where the infrastructure is falling apart, schools failing and far right elected officials cut taxes and spending, the one thing that will get money is a sports stadium. In St. Louis, Missouri the court recently rules that the city doesn’t need to ask the taxpayers for permission to build a new NFL stadium:
St. Louis can use city tax dollars to build a new NFL stadium for the Rams without a public vote on the matter, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley ruled on Monday. Critics say the decision calls into question the city’s spending priorities one year after the killing of an unarmed black teenager ignited long-simmering racial tensions and exposed extreme poverty, corruption, and racial bias throughout the county.
A 2002 ordinance requires a city vote before spending public money on a new sports facility. Frawley declared the ordinance invalid, saying portions were “too vague to be enforced.”
Meanwhile, in the state that Charles Pierce calls the Koch Industries subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, staunch fiscal conservative and Tea Party Governor signed legislation to give the New York City bases hedge fund owners of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team millions of tax dollars to build a new arena. David Dayen at Salon fills us in on Gov. Walker’s fiscal hypocrisy:
Herb Kohl, the former Democratic senator, sold the Milwaukee Bucks to two New York-based hedge fund managers, Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, in 2014; and they immediately demanded a new arena, lest they abandon Milwaukee. Lasry and Edens are worth around $2 billion each, but under the purchasing agreement they would only put up $150 million for the arena, with Kohl kicking in another $100 million. The rest would come from city, county and state taxpayers.
The usual discredited arguments propped up this deal. Wisconsin lawmakers promised great economic benefits from a new downtown arena. Walker said repeatedly it would be cheaper to keep the Bucks in Wisconsin than to lose them to some other city. This ignores the fact that the alternate universe where Wisconsinites don’t have a Bucks game to attend in April is not necessarily to sit in their homes and contemplate the darkness of existence. They’d maybe go out to dinner, with the economic activity simply substituted.
Numerous (pdf) studies (pdf) have shown (pdf) no economic benefits (pdf) to building a new stadium; it’s just something rich people say to get someone else to pay for the construction. Seattle is not a deserted wasteland because they lost the SuperSonics in 2008. They’re doing okay.
None of this mattered to politicians who could tell sports fans they “saved the Bucks,” however, and the legislature, with Walker’s prodding, agreed to cover $250 million of the $500 million needed to build the stadium. Walker’s budget literally cuts $250 million for the state university system, precisely the public share of the arena. They’re paying for it partially through borrowing, which adds interest. And if you tally up other subsidies like property tax abatements and sales tax exemptions, the 20-year cost could be as much as $500 million. That’s effectively the entire cost of the arena itself, and taxpayers will have no ownership stake in the property.
The host of MSNBC’s “All In,” Chris Hayes discussed the deal with David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute and Kavitha Davidson, sports columnist at Bloomberg View.
Contrary to what I predicted, so far at least, Scott Walker has proven to be something of a lemon as a national candidate. He is even more charisma-challenged than I thought he was, and he can’t get out of his own way on most major policy issues. Beating up English teachers and bum-rushing grannies out of the state capitol will only get you so far. And this gift to a couple of hedge-fund buckaroos is making nobody except those two guys happy. This is how Ben Carson ends up in second place in Iowa.
Jun 10 2014
Friday June 10, 1904
From the Kansas City Star: Mother Jones Heads East to Speak in Kansas City on Sunday
“Mother” Jones to Speak at a Picnic
Mary G. [sic] Jones, known as “Mother” Jones, will speak at Budd park Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. “Mother” Jones once lived in Kansas City and had a dressmaking shop, but in recent years has devoted her attention to Socialism and has been active in big strikes as a crusader. She will talk on the miners’ strike in the Cripple Creek district. There will be a picnic in connection with the meeting Sunday afternoon.
Kansas City Star
(Kansas City, Missouri)
-of June 10, 1904