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Voters Made Wise Choice Defeating Islanders Arena Scheme, Says Nation’s Oldest Taxpayer Group
For Immediate Release August 2, 2011
Brent Mead Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) – Yesterday, Nassau County voters overwhelmingly rejected (56 percent-43 percent) a referendum that would have issued $400 million in bonds to build a new stadium complex primarily for the New York Islanders. According to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has studied the fiscal woes that similar schemes have inflicted on taxpayers elsewhere, residents made a solid decision. NTU has 362,000 members nationwide and over 18,000 members in New York.
NTU State Government Affairs Manager Brent Mead offered the following comments upon defeat of the referendum:
“The taxpayers of Nassau County have just affirmed at the ballot box what many citizen groups and economists have pointed out previously: sports-stadium deals negotiated between owners and politicians can often be raw deals for taxpayers.
“The Islanders stadium plan would have hit taxpayers with a 3.5 percent-4 percent property tax hike, and upwards of $800 million in bonds outstanding over a 30-year period. These numbers are far more dramatic than the rosy estimates touted by proponents of the arena project, like the claim that the tax hike only amounted to $14 per household. Even the projected revenue numbers would have fallen well short of the annual interest payments.
“Adding insult to injury, simply holding the vote in a special election cost taxpayers $2.2 million!
“Despite all these unpredictable expenses and tax increases on one of the most over-taxed counties in America, the Islanders would simply have been a tenant of the new stadium and would have remained vulnerable to being sold by the owner and moved off of Long Island.
“The good judgment of taxpayers saved Nassau County from a government which is already over $100 million in debt, clearly cannot manage itself, and is under state financial control.”
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. More information, including studies on taxpayer-funded sport facilities, is available at www.ntu.org.