Every chance I get I'm bitching and moaning about the new ballpark being built on the Anacostia waterfront for the tidy sum of at least $611,000,000.00. Whenever I do, I get a few responses that can be split into two categories:
1. "The money being spent on the ballpark is an investment! No one is going to build in Anacostia unless we give them a reason to!"
This argument can be easily deflected by pointing out that investments only work if you are investing a reasonable amount of money. $611,000,000.00 is not reasonable. In fact, it's more than one hundred million dollars more expensive than the costliest ballpark in American history (Safeco Field in Seattle). Saying the Anacostia ballpark is a good investment is like saying that paying $95,000 for a Plymouth Horizon is a good investment. Sure, it's nice to have a car for your commute and it certainly helps with the ladies, but you are paying so much more than market value for the car that it becomes a wee-bit counter-productive.
2. "The money being used for stadium costs comes from a voluntary corporate tax. Saying that it takes away from public works and education is disingenuous."
How sick is it that Washington businesses are willing to shell out money for a stadium but not for better schools and hospitals?
That's beside the point. Washington businesses don't get to pick and choose what taxes they want to pay. If the City Council decides to enact a tax increase with all the cash going to public schools, there's nothing the businesses can do about it. Except for move to Reston or Rockville, but in a city that worships the prestige of a good Washington address, I don't think that going to happen.
You know what? That's beside the point too. Hat tip to the Express Blog for leading me to this:
If the city cannot reach a decision on how to provide the required parking spaces at the Nationals new stadium, the city may have to raise taxes on big businesses and it could make it harder for the city to borrow money for big ticket projects, such as school improvements.
It's possible the new stadium could be completed, but because the parking doesn't meet team requirements the Nationals would play at RFK rent free during the 2008 season, adding substantial cost overruns to the $611 million price tag.
[DC Chief Financial Officer Natwar] Gandhi says only three options remain. All of those options require either millions more in city funds or approval from the Nationals. Last week the City Council failed to agree on any of these options.
Anyone still want to argue that saying the stadium deal hurts Washington schools is disingenuous? Seriously? Anyone?
The stadium deal that Anthony Williams and the City Council orchestrated with Major League Baseball continues to be an absolute disgrace. A disgrace that is going to ultimately hurt the people of the District. The city is going to be financially crippled so people can play a simple game. But, it's a sound investment, right? An investment so sound that a simple parking garage could set the city back decades. Shame on anyone who still supports this playground for millionaires.