Taxpayers tapped out

Every so often it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and look at things from a different angle so after reading an article published in the United States I thought, hmm, this might work.

The gist of the rather lengthy piece was to stop the flow of taxpayer money to a certain recipient who by all accounts really doesn’t need the handout. The guilty party is the sports franchise owner and the numbers are staggering when added up.

Now keep in mind this is the U.S. and things are always bigger and better but you will get the picture I’m certain.

An interactive web site estimates the total cost to the public of the 78 pro-stadiums built or renovated between 1991 and 2004 was nearly $16 billion.

Yep, that is with a huge capital ‘B’!

These of course are the very same stadiums which are home to over-priced athletes of all shapes and sizes. The same buildings where a hot dog and a pop will cost you almost the same as filling up your mid-sized car. A bank loan with a reputable co-signer is needed in order to take a family of four to a home game which will include the pricey jersey that may sit in the closet if the season is cancelled, not that something like that would ever happen.

A perfect example of this sports money blackmail would be the Katz group dropping the hint of a move to Seattle if a new arena is not built with the help of thousands of municipal taxpayer’s dollars.

Was there ever an official statement made to move? No, but Helen Keller would have been able to pick up on the body language there.

It happens all the time where team owners say a move is coming unless money is made available to expand their stadium/rink/arena.

Another example has the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, whose personal wealth is pegged at $1 billion, received $498 million from the city and state to build a new home for his franchise.

So is it the same here? I can’t say for certain on a provincial or federal level but some might think so. We of course see it on a city level as with the Oilers new arena case.

But the bigger question is can we stop the bleeding if it is happening or do we just keep digging into our pockets to pay for another transfusion?