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Friday, July 27, 2012

Murphy’s Law: The Eternal Stadium Tax

And I thought the power to tax was the power to destroy:

The original cost was supposed to be $250 million for construction of the stadium, with $90 million coming from the Brewers, plus $72 million for infrastructure.

. . . .

The most recent estimates are that some $530 million will be paid by taxpayers by the time the sales tax ends. That leaves off a dozen or more items — more infrastructure costs and multiple tax exemptions — that helped pay for the stadium, whose costs my Milwaukee Magazine story estimated at more than $500 million.

 

In the years since the audit bureau’s last report, no outside analyst has been tracking the district’s spending. A new scoreboard, installed in 2011, cost $11 million, of which half was apparently paid for by the taxpayers. A Journal Sentinel story also suggested that taxpayers may have helped pay for refurbished luxury suites, added party areas and new team stores overseen by the Brewers, but the tax bill wasn’t tabulated. Did we taxpayers help finance upgraded stadium club patios, new signage and a new chalet for Bernie the Brewer? Your guess is as good as mine.

 

The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:51 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, bud selig, business, perpetual motion machines

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   1. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4193673)
A simple idea.

Let's lower the standard top individual tax rate to 28% and eliminate the corporate tax rate altogether to increase investment incentives, reward hard work, and stimulate the economy.

Then let's create a special 75% bracket for personal (over $250k per year) or corporate income from any business that receives any significant direct subsidies from any federal, state or local government entity or program. You need government help to build a stadium? Fine, give us 75% of the profit. You got a $200M contract because your employer's stadium was locally funded, freeing up their cash flow to pay employees ridiculous amounts? Fine, give us 75% for making that happen. You want billions in taxpayer money to gamble on your solar or electric technologies? Great, if it succeeds, send us our check for 75%.

I'm not sure if my tax system will raise more or less total revenues, but I'm pretty damn sure that government spending suddenly drops significantly as corporate welfare leeches stampede to suddenly embrace the free market and "capitalism" again, and the spending that's left will driven more by well reasoned policies and less by well heeled special interest groups.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4193675)
Your telephone bill most likely includes a 3% federal excise tax, which was originally introduced as a temporary luxury tax on all telecommunications service in order to fund a special project. That project: the Spanish-American War.
   3. eddieot Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4193676)
Good piece. Not enough of this kind of coverage these days. Is Murphy a sports guy or a news columnist? This seems beyond most local sports hacks.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4193686)
I'd like to start a cable news channel that does nothing bu report on government expenditure and budgeting. I'm a lefty and all, but I think we'd all be better served by knowing where and why the money goes. I would make sure to have loud and garish computer graphics and really hot female anchors so people might actually watch it, too.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4193707)
I'd like to start a cable news channel that does nothing bu report on government expenditure and budgeting. I'm a lefty and all, but I think we'd all be better served by knowing where and why the money goes. I would make sure to have loud and garish computer graphics and really hot female anchors so people might actually watch it, too.

What a terrible idea. What if I'm watching your stupid channel, and I miss hearing about something that a Romney spokesman says about an Obama ad that repeated something that Romney said about Obama?
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4193713)
What a terrible idea. What if I'm watching your stupid channel, and I miss hearing about something that a Romney spokesman says about an Obama ad that repeated something that Romney said about Obama?

Hmm. See, I never think things through! This has always been one of my many, many problems.
   7. Nats-Homer-in-DC Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4193720)
So it has become like countless other "temporary" taxes and fees?
   8. Nats-Homer-in-DC Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4193736)
ValueArbitrageur,
In addition to your equity stake tax, you could write a restriction in public funds and grants contracts restricting those whom donate to political campaigns. As it focuses on federal spending, it might circumvent Citizens United. Do that and you will have solved the problem of corporate, non-profit and union manipulation of the public coffers.
   9. McCoy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4193758)
The problem with VA's suicide taxes is that the government has tried to do type of things before and they simply don't work. For instance the government reworked the bond procedures in the hopes that states and municipalities wouldn't issue bonds for stadiums and such. They set them up as losing propositions for local government to issue them and yet they went right ahead and issued them anyway. Politicians get elected and stay elected by getting people "stuff".
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 27, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4193776)
wasn't the chicago area toll system set up to pay off a bond that originated in 1954, got paid off in 1995 or so and this whole system was so lucrative they kept it going?
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4193829)
Your telephone bill most likely includes a 3% federal excise tax, which was originally introduced as a temporary luxury tax on all telecommunications service in order to fund a special project. That project: the Spanish-American War.


At least we won.


I'd like to start a cable news channel that does nothing bu report on government expenditure and budgeting. I'm a lefty and all, but I think we'd all be better served by knowing where and why the money goes. I would make sure to have loud and garish computer graphics and really hot female anchors so people might actually watch it, too.


There have been some that have proposed that everyone that files taxes receives a "receipt" that lays out in basic form where your money goes. Like 33% social security, 30% medicare/medicaid, 20% defense, etc. (I have no idea if those are accurate, but I suspect they are close).

They already do this in the city I live in, although its not a receipt, its in the public newsletter.
   12. dlf Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4193842)
There have been some that have proposed that everyone that files taxes receives a "receipt" that lays out in basic form where your money goes.


Obama started that on the White House web page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/2011-taxreceipt
   13. Rants Mulliniks Posted: July 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4193846)
I'd like to start a cable news channel that does nothing bu report on government expenditure and budgeting. I'm a lefty and all, but I think we'd all be better served by knowing where and why the money goes. I would make sure to have loud and garish computer graphics and really hot female anchors so people might actually watch it, too.


So what you're saying is that you want to start the revolution? /ducks

   14. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: July 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4193901)
Is Murphy a sports guy or a news columnist?


He's a news columnist/reporter who finds smaller and smaller homes: the daily newspaper, then the glossy local monthly magazine, now a urbanism website. I don't get the impression that he has much of a bias, either.

Although I believe the District owns Miller Park, so it makes sense that the District would pay for some capital improvements. It may be that people thought the government was raising money simply to build the stadium, not act like a commerical landlord who makes improvements.
   15. Chris Needham Posted: July 27, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4194027)
This is an amazing graphicon the Federal Budget. Each of those little tiny squares is, more or less, an Agency. I work for one with like an $800 million budget. And I can't find us on there unless I zoom in twice.
   16. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: July 27, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4194063)
wasn't the chicago area toll system set up to pay off a bond that originated in 1954, got paid off in 1995 or so and this whole system was so lucrative they kept it going?

As far as I've been able to determine, the Illinois toil authority exists to provide generous salaries for employees of the Illinois toll authority.
   17. tjm1 Posted: July 27, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4194144)
Then let's create a special 75% bracket for personal (over $250k per year) or corporate income from any business that receives any significant direct subsidies from any federal, state or local government entity or program. You need government help to build a stadium? Fine, give us 75% of the profit. You got a $200M contract because your employer's stadium was locally funded, freeing up their cash flow to pay employees ridiculous amounts? Fine, give us 75% for making that happen. You want billions in taxpayer money to gamble on your solar or electric technologies? Great, if it succeeds, send us our check for 75%.


Interesting idea - but where do you draw the line between legitimate government contracts with private companies and subsidies? I think it's not a bad idea to say that the government should get a cut of the revenues from any patent that is derived from government funded research - but there might be some lines of thinking that non-commerical research grants represent subsidies to universities, or that all defense contractors or NASA contractors are subsidy recipients, since they receive so much of their income from the federal government. The universities that receive substantial government grants are all non-profit, but e.g. most med school professors make more than $250K, and given the qualifications they have, it would be nearly impossible to replace them for less. Are they susceptible to your 75% taxes? Or the for-profit colleges - they essentially are subsidized by student loans that never get repaid, and they do make big profits. I like the idea, but I think the implementation would lead to some arbitrary value judgments.
   18. Buzzards Bay Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4194246)
The 2012 Super Bowl played at the publicly financed $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium “has prompted local officials to raise restaurant, hotel, and rental car taxes, and make other payments on top of about $43 million in unexpected financing costs to their sports and convention facilities.”
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: July 27, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4194260)
Your telephone bill most likely includes a 3% federal excise tax, which was originally introduced as a temporary luxury tax on all telecommunications service in order to fund a special project. That project: the Spanish-American War.
Only if you have a "local-only" phone service. The IRS stopped collecting the tax for everyone else in 2006.
   20. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4194274)
wasn't the chicago area toll system set up to pay off a bond that originated in 1954, got paid off in 1995 or so and this whole system was so lucrative they kept it going?

Dunno, but I do like this trivia about the Skyway (it's from Wiki, but it's at least cited):
The Skyway's official name, referring to it as a "toll bridge" rather than a "toll road", is the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge with a six-mile-long approach. This also is part of the reason that there are no exits available until after one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM (#4194284)
I'd like to start a cable news channel that does nothing bu report on government expenditure and budgeting. I'm a lefty and all, but I think we'd all be better served by knowing where and why the money goes. I would make sure to have loud and garish computer graphics and really hot female anchors so people might actually watch it, too.


I would support that, maybe not tv, but a massive web blog with good accurate links. I'm lefty also but there is a difference between spending tax money on useful crap, and exploiting the system or just outright wasting money.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: July 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4194285)
The Skyway's official name, referring to it as a "toll bridge" rather than a "toll road", is the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge with a six-mile-long approach. This also is part of the reason that there are no exits available until after one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll.



Man I hate lawyers.

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