Sign in / Join

"Why I'm No Fan...

of the Stadium Financing Plan." That's that title of an op-ed in the Washington Post by Henry Aaron, an economist at the Brookings Institution. Aaron's lengthy body of work cannot be described as "obstructionist" when it comes to spending public money, and the piece clearly implies that he's a fan who places a positive value on having a baseball team in DC. Here's the bottom line:

The mayor and others who negotiated this deal warn that the matter is settled and that if the City Council does not ratify it, the Expos will go elsewhere. The proper answer is that a better deal is not only possible but that negotiating one is the only fiscally responsible thing to do.

Washington is a valuable site not only for a new team but also for the other teams that will play here and share in gate receipts that are expected to vastly exceed Montreal's. A Washington team will enhance the value of Major League Baseball's television contract, which brings added profit to all teams.

A deal that passes part of the gains from a successful franchise to the taxpayers of the District should be possible if the District's negotiators do not engage in preemptive surrender. If a better deal is not possible, then perhaps the Expos should go elsewhere. As valued as a major league team would be, it is not worth jeopardizing the financial health of a city that only recently was near bankruptcy.

Here's the piece, worth reading in its entirety. Via Ian at Truck and Barter, who has useful observations on the likelihood of a local economic impact.