Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium Deal One Of The Worst Deals Ever—16.4% Of Hamilton County Budget
“Hamilton County’s stadium deal with the Cincinnati Bengals is among the worst ever struck by a local government with a professional sports team, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The newspaper reports that the county spent $34.6 million on the stadium last year, which is about 16.4 percent of the county’s total budget, and a property tax rollback included in the original deal is draining additional revenue.Hamilton County voters passed a half-cent sales tax increase in 1996 to help fund construction on the stadium, which opened in 2000, and Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003. To help entice voters into supporting the sales tax hike, county commissioners at the time agreed to roll back property taxes beginning this year. But sales tax revenues did not keep pace with projections, and the county faced bankruptcy if it did not negotiate additional payments from the Bengals and Reds – and reduce the amount of taxes to be rolled back. Under the deal reached in December, about 25 percent of the property tax rollback was retained, meaning homeowners will pay an additional $40 to $45 for every $100,000 of home value. The report says the stadium cost far more than its $280 million budget, although the county and team offer differing figures. Hamilton County officials say the final cost was $454 million, while the team claims the cost was $350 million without infrastructure work around the stadium, the newspaper reports.”
I was in the Cincinnati City Council Chamber when the council–by a 5-4 vote–approved the transfer of land that helped make the stadium deal possible. I’m glad to say that the councilmember I worked for at the time voted no.
I’ve written about this matter from time-to-time over the years. I’m sure I will again. I’ll know I’ll not change anything about how the Bengals operate. Why should they change when they keep getting all the taxpayer dollars and don’t have to put a good team on the field?
Yet still, I’m going to keep writing about this issue.
(Below–A picture I took earlier this year of the Cincinnati Bengals underwater from Ohio River flooding just like Hamilton County taxpayers are underwater everyday from the stadium deal. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)
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