Thursday, December 16, 2004

Huge D.C. victory against corporate welfare

And I thought only bad news came out of Washington D.C. . . . .

Last night, the District of Columbia City Council (representing about half a million people, with a struggling inner city and lots of underinvested people) decided not to spend half a billion dollars on a new baseball stadium so that the wealthy companies that own baseball franchises (like the Tribune and Jerry Reinsdorf's partners) could sell a franchise to play in Washington. Instead, the council voted to require Major League Baseball to come up with half the money privately, and the taxpayers would come up with the other half.

And this was a major slap in the face to the idea of corporate welfare for Major League Baseball.

Here's the website of an advocacy group, No Taxes for Baseball, that includes a Washington Post article on the City Council deal here.

It's atrocious that these very wealthy corporations extract wealth from taxpayers to build their stadiums.

Think about the corner of 35th Street and the Dan Ryan. On the east side, what is left of the Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens. On the west side, a gleaming new stadium paid for by tax dollars so the owners of the White Sox can make money. We don't have money to build affordable housing for people. We do have money for the owners of the White Sox to make money from selling baseball tickets. That corner is the starkest example of corporate welfare.

Congratulations to D.C. for standing up to baseball. Too bad Illinois caved in to the owners of the White Sox and gave them millions of our precious tax dollars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dan, our country has a history of doing special favors and making speacial laws for major league baseball. While I'm with you in theory, I'm not sure the favors politicians do for wealthy baseball owners deserves the sort of scrutiny you give. There are many corp welfare projects that are far worse in terms of money and the impact on the public. Baseball does create many jobs and gets a lot of money flowing, so baseball welfare is arguable. However, tax cuts for defense contractors? No bid contracts? What good does that do for the world other than allow more people to be killed. Lets save our criticism about speacial interest favors for the real bad guys. As far as I'm concerned, the gov can tax the public all they want for the exclusive benefit of a baseball team if that team is the Cubs, and it would help us win the world sereies. Go Cubs.