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Bills-stadium_jpg-300x199To keep the Buffalo Bills, taxpayers will shell out $226 million over the next 10 years. That sum includes $95 million for stadium renovations, with the Bills kicking in $35 million. Taxpayers will pay about $3.2 million per home game.

This is what the the Erie County executive called “affordable” and a “gift” to fans.

There’s more. The lease deal includes a provision to form a working group to explore a new stadium. Taxpayers could be $95 million deep into a facility that will be abandoned within a decade. Who would ever invest that kind of money into a stadium used only seven times a year (Toronto doesn’t count) that could be replaced sooner rather than later?

The best part is the Bills could leave Western New York in seven years with only a $28 million penalty. Guess who’s left holding the bag?

Sure, this is way less than the billion-dollar stadium deals we’re seeing across the NFL. But that’s just comparing levels of crazy.

Sure, the Bills have a ton of uncertainty, with no ownership succession plan. It shouldn’t follow that taxpayers throw good money after bad. This is some very expensive, short-term, Band-Aid planning.

This is sports welfare at its finest. The governor said, “The Buffalo Bills account for hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact.” The Buffalo News found very little evidence of economic impact. Studies show stadiums are money-losers for communities.

I suspect this one will be no different.

Links of the Day:

– In a huge win, Kodak has sold its power plant. It’s not clear if taxpayers will have to contribute anything.

– It appears the state inflated job creation figures when it announced a $50 million investment in company’s plans to move to Buffalo. This is a company that’s lost money over the past few years.

– State lawmakers may return to Albany for a special session on guns.

 – People waited in line 30 hours to buy Air Jordans in Syracuse.

Request for Help:

Friends, I received a Facebook message from Melissa Preston. She has five children and one grandchild living with her in East Rochester. She’s unemployed, has had some health issues and lives on food stamps, and rental and utility assistance. Melissa said she doesn’t have a single Christmas gift for her children. I spent some time on the phone with her this morning. I’ve never met her and don’t know a lot about her, but promised her I would pass on her number if anyone cares to help. It’s 371-2673. She has three daughters, ages 20, 15, and 12, and two sons ages 9 and 7. Her granddaughter is 2. She said clothes are a big need.

7 Responses to Affordable Gift?

  1. December 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm RaChaCha responds:

    As a Rochester native now living in Buffalo and writing occasionally for Buffalo Rising, it’s always great to see our writing &/or tweeting picked up by folks in other cities!

    I earnestly hope that with all the $Millions we are collectively investing in the Bills, that we can also spare some time and resources for the neediest among us, especially during this holiday season.

  2. December 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    gift? it sounds like the taxpayers are getting skinned by the buffalo bills and were supposed to think it is a gift. gifts are free they don’t cost millions. my prayers would be answred if the bills did move to L.A.

  3. WOW….to me, this is a tough one. I think it is more philosophical than economical. What is life? Why are we here and what are we suppose to do ? What is quality of life? If you don’t have kids, do you still pay school taxes? If you don’t own a car, do you still pay propert taxes for road construction and repair? If you are law abiding, should you pay for police and court costs? Why should we pay for public defenders to defend criminals who don’t work? That brings us to the question of taxes to provide entertainment venues to a community. I am a taxpayer and a season ticket holder to the Bills for over 25 years. I work all week, all year, and enjoy going to the games. I don’t have a problem with a little support from the State to insure that an NFL team stays in Buffalo. Note…I said I would support a reasonable amount of support. Remember….a balanced life is a happy life. Balance means there is a time for work, there is a time for rest, and there is a time for play. Too much of one without the others is not good. Just my thoughts…

  4. WHY? That’s my question. Why in God’s name do people still support this team. The last time they made the playoffs was the 1999/2000 season. Including this season (wherein they will SHOCKINGLY not make the playoffs) there will be 13 years marking the last time this pathetic excuse for a football team made the playoffs. 13 years. That’s right. In an eighth grader’s life span, the Bills have not made the playoffs. The management, coaching and players have been horrifically incompetent for a decade and a half with no remote sign of changing and here we are footing the bill for this embarrassment to continue for seven more years before they move to LA. Nowhere else has this happened after a decade plus of ineptitude. Nowhere. How about we cut our losses and recognize a lost cause when we see one and here’s an idea………spend your money in your own city instead of sending it 70 miles west every other Sunday….just a crazy thought.

  5. Having been a Bills fan for my entire life, watching them from the early 1970s on, I think it’s time for a divorce. What you have here with the Bills is the proverbial deal with the devil. Buffalo can have a football team, but the chance of this team being competitive are nil. The Super Bowl years were some happy accident, orchestrated by Bill Polian, a guy Ralph reportedly canned after he made a snarky comment about one of Ralph’s daughters at a Buffalo Bills ataff party or something like that. Wilson is the worst owner in the NFL and that’s quite an achievement given the competition. We need to stop this type of “sports welfare” and get on with life. I am not comfortable giving this billionaire (on paper, given what the Bills are likely worth) nearly a quarter of a billion dollars so that Buffalo can hang on tooth and nail to this fantasy that it matters on the national stage. It’s time for the community to man up, and establish an identify for itself outside of a pathetically lousy football team. Plus, the fan behavior at these games is so unbelievably bad, that it would be a net plus if we were able to get rid of this team for once and for all.

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