Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More on the Dome debate

David Nicklaus of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has hit the nail on the head in a column discussing the wisdom of using taxpayer money to finance sports stadia: "Let's keep faulty economics out of Dome debate."  He makes some of the same points I made on the Jaco Report, where I said that claims of large economic impacts for NFL stadia are false, although there is a case to be made of treating having an NFL team as an amenity.  Here's Nicklaus's take::

  • "There may be good reasons for taxpayers to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome, but helping the local economy is not among them."
  • "Is having a football team a matter of civic pride? Perhaps. Does the city's image benefit from a place in the nation's most successful sports league? Undoubtedly."
  • "If public officials want to make a case for pouring money into a football stadium, they can try to use such quality-of-life arguments. If they start talking about economic benefits, though, taxpayers should hold on to their wallets."
Today's paper also contains two letters, one from Michael Rathbone of the Show-Me Institute responding to Bryan Burwell's recent foray into economic analysis, which I discussed the other day; and another showing how opposition to public financing of the stadium upgrade runs across the political spectrum:
I am a liberal socially and politically. Tell me that my taxes will be raised for our devastated city school system, no problem. Tell me that my taxes will go up to subsidize more free lunches, welfare and food stamps for the needy, no problem. Tell me that my taxes will increase to cover the rebuilding of our shameful highways and bridges, no problem.