Thursday, December 13, 2007

Peanuts, Popcorn, Cold Beer

In the

Are They Nuts?

category is state officials considering that state taxpayers might buy Wrigley Field.

That’s what immediately came to mind when I saw the teaser on the top left of the front page of Thursday’s Chicago Tribune.

Is this some trade-off in which the Tribune would agree to support Governor Rod Blagojevich for a third term, if he rushed to the rescue of the Tribune?

I heard on the radio, but didn’t listen to carefully, that for the deal to sell the Tribune to go through, the company has to get rid of the Cubs operation by the first of the year.

Some of you know that I’m not a sports fan.

I figure politics has pretty much the same elements as sports, but could cost me money. Only rarely does sports cost me money.

I can think of state government’s building the new White Sox stadium. I can think of McHenry County College’s trying to put us taxpayers at risk by building a minor league baseball stadium for investors unknown.

So, I didn’t toss the Sports section on the floor for re-cycling today. I’m actually reading a story in it. Maybe it belongs in the business section of the paper.

“It is unclear how the state and ISFA (Illinois Sports Facilities Authority) would raise funds for such a purchase, which would fetch hundreds of millions if sold,” Jim Kirk's article says.

But it’s not just state taxpayers who would be at risk, the Tribune Company is talking to Mayor Richard Daley, too.

I can hear another big Tax Increment Financing district rolling through city council on this one.

Take the money from Chicago schools. Only the Chicago Reader will figure it out and they are laying off a higher percentage of reporters than the Tribune now that personals can be found on the internet.

And why would the Tribune want to sell the ballpark to the state?

To shift renovation costs from the Cubs prospective buyer. That would increase the price paid for the team.

There’s certainly something shifty here.

In my grad school public finance class at the University of Michigan, it was discussed in the class on incidence. It was about who really pays the cost of something.

With “public-private partnerships” all the rage, why wouldn’t the Tribune think the taxpayers would bail it out?

After all, when the Cubs finally do get to a World Series, wouldn’t all the (well, maybe, not the Cardinal fans) legislators want tickets?

I remember when the White Sox were almost in the World Series in the 1990’s, I had the opportunity to buy tickets for the play offs at face value.

That inducement would probably be enough to get state legislators to vote for such a deal.

= = = = =
The picture of Wrigley Field came from a State of Illinois taxpayer financed web site. This story was first posted on McHenry County Blog.


fedup dem 12:42 PM  

Can't you just see Republican State Rep. Patti Bellock (the great-granddaughter of White Sox founder Charles Comiskey) jumping at the opportunity to sponsor this legislation? Right!

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