Why Public Financing

The Seattle P-I’s Strange Bedfellows blog has an interesting conversation with author Neil deMause who, with co-author Joanna Cagan, wrote “Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit.”

deMause said he got into this line of study because he was a sports fan and was concerned about why teams left cities and old stadiums were torn down. He explains a sports team’s rationale for wanting stadiums this way:

If an arena costs $40 million a year (say) to get $20 million a year in new revenues, that’s only bad if you’re the one paying the $40 million. Teams want arenas because they’re a way of socializing costs while privatizing profits. Or to put it another way, teams want stadiums and arenas because just asking for the public to hand them cash seems too crass. But asking the public to build them a new building is for some reason considered more acceptable.

He also said he thought Clay Bennett would be back in the Legislature next year.

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