Saturday, March 5, 2016

Holy Crap, the Times Editorial Board Issues Caution on Stadium Subsidies!

For the first time in a long time, Shadow of the Stadium and the Tampa Bay Times editorial board really seem to agree on something: elected officials aren't putting constituents first as they move forward on Rays stadium talks.
Here are three things that stand out from a weekend editorial in the Times:
Competition between cities benefits Rays, not taxpayers

The board writes the independent stadium efforts taking place in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties "should be complementary rather than competitive efforts, and the common goal should be keeping a regional asset that benefits the entire area."

Of course, this blog forecast the unhealthy "tug-of-war" over the Rays' future back in 2009.  And a series of recent tweets have warned how a regional competition only serves one goal: putting more taxpayers dollars into the Rays' pockets:

Times warns against corporate subsidies!?!
Even more surprising in this weekend's editorial is a warning about corporate subsidies, which the paper had all-but-endorsed through years and years and countless editorials cheerleading for stadium subsidies.

Previous posts have documented the Times' hypocrisy in supporting big taxpayer investments in a retail business as well as their celebrations of other stadiums funded by massive tax handouts.

But this weekend, the board writes:
Hillsborough officials have repeatedly insisted that any deal with the Rays will not replicate the flawed arrangement in 1996 that resulted in a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the first meeting between the committee and the Rays last month was a closed, two-hour session. As the county's incentive package to lure a Bass Pro Shops to town shows, (Commissioner Ken) Hagan has a poor track record when it comes to limiting public subsidies. And (Tampa Sports Authority chief executive Eric) Hart has an interest in luring the team, as his agency would likely manage any baseball stadium.
The paper is spot-on to suggest a broader, more open conversation than what happened with the Bucs - and what's currently happening with the Rays - for a few reasons, including:
Calls for transparency
The Times editorial concludes:
Hillsborough needs to make this process more transparent. The committee's next scheduled meeting with the Rays, on March 18, is also slated to be private. The public deserves a fuller vision, especially at this early stage, of the outlines of any deal.
Transparency is a great thing. So cheers to the Times for demanding it from the officials in charge of doling out taxpayer cash.

Now, the editorial board just needs to remember transparency from the Rays is important too.  Stu Sternberg says he needs taxpayer dollars.....let him open his books and prove it.

FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Twitter
FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Facebook


  1. Newsflash, it takes money to make money... Although netting big biz or pro teams sometimes might not be a great deal for cities, its almost always worth it in the long run... Common sense says the Tampa Bay area got more back in just these 20 years then their $200 million investment...

  2. Now that the Race to the Bottom between St. Pete and Tampa is out of the bag, this is a safe position for the Times to take. After ensuring greater public subsidies for the Rays, they can now go on record opposing public subsidies for the Rays. Obvious bull shit is obvious.