Thursday, November 5, 2015

St. Pete City Council Upheaval - the Morning After the Morning After

The morning after the morning after the Rays & St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman got the fifth city council member elected they need to get last year's compromise passed, we have more reaction and coverage of the fallout as attention starts to turn toward Hillsborough:
  1. 10 News WTSP: Mark Rivera interviews Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn about "what's next," and while Hizzoner was optimistic, he also did not rule out city/county general revenue tax dollars going toward a new stadium. He had a similar warning last December.
  2. Tampa Bay Times: Steve Contorno writes Hillsborough Co. Commissioner Ken Hagan says no "tax hike" for a Rays stadium, but he also didn't rule out redirecting current property tax money to a new facility. I've reported on this shift before, but back in 2010 courting the conservative vote, Hagan joined his fellow commissioners in saying "no public dollars" for a Rays stadium.
  3. Tampa Bay Times: Charlie Frago writes Lisa Wheeler-Brown's election isn't a guarantee of a deal, since councilwoman Amy Foster now becomes the key swing vote. She supported Kriseman's deal this summer, but only once it included a transparency clause on how the Rays evaluated stadium sites. Will that clause be offered again? Will bad blood from the election swing her back to a "no?" These factors could decide whether a deal gets done.
      1. Side pondering: Did the Tampa Bay Times create a great divide on council by making such a big deal out of the Rays' situation during the recent council campaigns?
  4. Tampa Tribune: The editorial board calls for the Rays to return to the table and for Pinellas County Commissioners to set aside $7 million/year in bed taxes for a potential new stadium...sooner, rather than later.
      1. Side note: The Trib continues to use bad math, writing the Kriseman deal would have the Rays paying between $4M and $2M for every year they left the Trop early. But they neglect the $0 the team wants to pay for skipping out on the agreed-upon 2027 season.
      2. Side note II: $7M/yr - bondable to maybe $90M in construction - likely won't be enough for Pinellas to nail down a stadium. The county might need to pull more money from beaches & tourism...unless, you know, the Rays were to finance the bulk of their stadium...but I won't hold our breath for that announcement.

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      1. One would have to believe "the smartest front office in baseball" has a creative & solid plan with Hillsborough (and others) that doesn't include a vote to use indirect tax payers money for a stadium...
        Also one has to believe the Rays, Hillsborough, and the private business investors have been saving for a while now to eventually put it all in the pot, and build their ballpark...
        It's like a movie that they been filming, but we'll have to wait till it comes out in the theaters. It's to bad though that no insiders have spilled the beans and/or had evidence. "the suspence is killing me", lol...

        1. Pinellas has the money and land. The location is not desirable by the Rays and in reality not very desirable by the fans.

          Hillsborough has the desirability factor for the Rays in theory. But sites have still yet to be properly identified. Also, the county has no money to really offer the Rays.


      2. If it comes to pass, nobody, except the Rays and/or MLB baseball should pay for a new stadium, wherever that may be!

        Per in 2001 total MLB revenues were $3.58 billion ($4.79 billion in 2014 dollars) and 56% of those revenues went to players’ salaries.

        In 2014, total MLB revenues were $7.86 billion and just 38% (see ) went to players’ salaries, even with the many ridiculously stupid long-term contracts that are negotiated.

        So revenues (in 2014 dollars) after deducting for player salaries were $2.1 billion in 2001 and $4.9 billion in 2014. That is an increase of $2.8 billion which averages out to $93 million per team. To build a $600 million stadium costs just $34 million per year assuming 4%/30 year terms.

        What have MLB and MLB owners done with all this extra money? Keep in mind that their slice of this ever growing pie will continue to get bigger in the coming years?

        During the Bud STEALig era (1992-2015), 21 new MLB stadiums were built, 20 of which received substantial public funding. Not only did 20 MLB clubs get lots of public money, not even one of them opened their books to show why they needed public money!

        For taxpayers to pony up even a dime for a new stadium for any team is obscene. That is like providing publicly funded college scholarships for Warren Buffet’s and Bill Gates’ kids.

        1. It's naive to think a stadium can be built in isolation of any public funding. The reality is, a stadium is not a stand-alone infrastructure - it needs to be hooked up to the grid, to the water supply, electricals, plus new roads and often public transport in those cities that have transport links.

          On top of that, as a place of business, taxes are collected, jobs are created and revenues are generated for many local area businesses. All of which are the same reasons big companies get government incentives to be located in their area.

          Having said that, I agree that MLB need to open their books for transparency but I don't think they should be cut off from gov't assistance. The degree to which that assistance is awarded is a matter of local appetite to determine.

        2. Tom, be careful not to equate "never having been done before" with impossible. Society picks which activities to subsidize. Some of those activities offer higher economic returns than others. Sports facilities have not been shown to produce a positive return. 1980s opinions on public stadiums have not been shown to be true. We should encourage productive business activity, not the unproductive. Your comment is full of unsupported assumptions about the economic effect of sports. Communities that invest scarce resources smartly get ahead and make progress. The other communities get missed opportunities or Tropicana Field.

          If you are right that big companies should be given government incentives to locate in the area (and that's a big big philosophical value judgment on your part), then this county should be chasing high value industries, to support higher wages, higher per capita GDP, to raise the earnings and quality of life of everyone living here. Baseball is not such an industry.

        3. Tom, I am willing to pay my tax dollars toward our roads, our sewers, your children's education, even your healthcare, and possibly the recruitment of high impact companies. But I am not willing to pay my tax dollars toward your entertainment.

        4. AnnoyingMouse@2:12

          1. I never equated equate "never having been done before" with impossible"

          2. "Society picks which activities to subsidize" - that's not always true - typically it's the various levels of government that do that...

          3. "big companies should be given government incentives to locate in the area (and that's a big big philosophical value judgment on your part)" -- Again, I made no comment as to whether big companies SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be given subsidies. I merely said that is the reason it IS done.

          4. "this county should be chasing high value industries, to support higher wages, higher per capita GDP, to raise the earnings and quality of life of everyone living here. Baseball is not such an industry." -->> All work and no play does not make a better quality of life. If that were the case, the entire entertainment business, including sports, would not exist.

          Please learn to read and understand what I said rather than commenting blindly.

        5. The important takeaway, Tom, is that your string of assumptions about the economic and social benefits of sports stadium subsidies are mostly dogsh*t.

        6. The important takeway from your answer, AnnoyingMouse, is you're illiterate and lack reading comprehension skills. Not to mention you are just plain stupid in thinking you have the ability or the means to select where and how tax dollars are distributed

        7. Hi Tom,
          Where I live in Lutz, Hillsborough County has provide me with a paved street, sewers, and street lights. I have a well and a septic tank, and pay property taxes. The same level of infrastructure that I get the Rays should get if they build a stadium in Hillsborough County and they should pay property taxes too!

          Regarding economic impact, if the Rays completely vacate the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough County will realize a positive boost to its economy because of the dollars spent by Hillsborough County baseball fans at the Trop and surrounding area will now be spent mostly in Hillsborough County.

        8. Scott - I'm sure the Rays will pay property taxes (even though they would get some sort of incentive to/assistance to build from someother line item)...

          but what you said re boost to the economy... I guess in the case of Pinellas vs Hillsborough, there would be a potential rise in Hillsborough assuming fans spend their entertainment dollars in that county as opposed to spending their dollars in Pinellas... but there's hardly a significant spend to begin with considering such low attendance...

          Seeing that you are in the county that the Rays have been wanting to emigrate to, what are your neighbors and your thoughts on having the Rays move across the Bay?

        9. Hi Tom,

          You state:
          "but there's hardly a significant spend to begin with considering such low attendance..."
          So if there is not a significant spend by Hillsborough County folks for Rays games, then why would there be a significant spend by these folks when a stadium gets built in Hillsborough County? Do you think attendance is going to go 'through the roof'?

          I go to a 2-4 games per year. It matters little to me if the Rays move closer, which they are welcome to do if they pay for 100% of the stadium. I don't know any neighbors who go to Rays games. I do have a brother-in-law that is happy to go to games when he gets free tickets:)

          If the Rays leave Tampa Bay, then the money I would have spent at the TROP will get spent closer to home in Hillsborough County.

        10. Scot - " Do you think attendance is going to go 'through the roof'?" -->> NOPE is my answer. I don't think the attendance will increase one iota if they move or if they stay in St Pete's.

          The Rays gave away tons of free tickets last year to every kind of group and still, it made no difference.

          And you know as well as I do, that the Rays are not going to pay 100% for their new stadium regardless of where they end up... whether they stay in St Pete, move to Hillsborough or end up across the border in Montreal...

        11. Tom, if you had a point, what would you say it is?

        12. Tom, most businesses pay property tax and pay impact fees when they build. They front the cost of hooking up to infrastructure. But pro teams in America typically skirt this responsibility.

        13. Thanks Noah - if you read my post you'll see I got that covered.

      3. Attendance will be higher in Hillsborough over Pinellas, that's just plain ol' commonsense. How much higher, is the question.


        1. Actually, there's no evidence to prove that attendance will be higher in Hillsborough over Pinellas


        2. It's logic and rational. If we build it, they will come.


        3. Yep - just like in Miami