To 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.
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.
On the day the world was supposed to end, the Bills sign a lease to stay in Buffalo for another decade.
— Buffalo Rising (@BuffaloRising) December 21, 2012
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.