The Bills, state and Erie County agreed the team would pay a $400 million penalty if they left town during the 10-year lease. But the Bills have an out that allows to pay only $29 million if they leave after the seventh year.
The assembly would have the Bills pay back the $60 million if they leave at any time during the lease, in addition to the other penalties.
“Aren’t they wealthy enough that they can handle their own operating support?” Katz asked Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chairman Herman Farrell.
“I don’t see that this is the financial boon to the City of Buffalo,” Katz said, suggesting the state should be wary of sports franchises that threaten to leave if they don’t get public funding.
Assemblyman Steve Katz: “I dare say a whole lot more people will be using the Tappan Zee Bridge and will be employing far more people than anything coming out of Ralph Wilson stadium. One is vital transportation to bring economic development to get people from one state to another on a bridge versus something, that as much as I love it, is still an elective, still a luxury.”
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Poloncarz says that on the Bills deal, once you total in the state income tax that will be paid by the players and the sales tax by fans, the state will come out ahead.
Katz demanded Polancarz show him the figures. I doubt they’ll ever be produced. Study after study shows stadiums have dubious economic impact. Polancarz is wrong in using sales tax figures to justify taxpayer investment in the stadium. That line of reasoning assumes people who attend games would not spend their money on other forms of entertainment within New York state. Furthermore, spending money at a Bills game is a little like eating at a chain restaurant; less of the fans’ money stays local.
As for the players’ hefty salaries, perhaps it’s a wiser investment for government to focus on economic development that creates long-lasting, good-paying jobs.
Links of the Day:
– Frontier’s CEO is getting a raise and a potential bonus that would more than double her salary.
– An Onondaga County school superintendent is being paid $185,000 to “retire.” These types of gifts should be illegal.
– A fruit company is opening a plant in Central New York, hoping to ride the yogurt wave.