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Diverse Coalition Opposed to Baseball Lease Makes Ninth-Inning Pitch to D.C. Council: Stop the Squeeze Play
For Immediate Release January 19, 2006
(Washington, D.C.) -- As Major League Baseball announced it was bringing in a mediator to pinch-hit for a baseball stadium lease settlement that could heavily burden taxpayers, a letter to City Council Members today from five citizen groups pitching from the right and left of the political spectrum contended that the costly bidding game should be called on account of fiscal recklessness. The coalition was organized by the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), and includes Friends of the Earth, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, and Taxpayers for Common Sense Action.
"Taxpayer and good-government advocates have watched in dismay as the cost for a publicly-subsidized baseball stadium has steadily mounted," the letter noted. "The $535 million budget adopted a year ago for a complex along the Anacostia River has ballooned to $667 million, making it the costliest outdoor baseball stadium ever. ...With Major League Baseball only willing to kick in a paltry $20 million for construction costs (in exchange for parking revenue), D.C. taxpayers will be on the hook for millions in subsidies."
Equally troubling, according to the signatories, "The vast body of research suggests that the proposed baseball stadium in D.C. will not generate notable economic or fiscal benefits for the city." As far back as 2004, the economic community has spoken out against the D.C. deal. In October of that year 90 economists of all ideological persuasions signed a joint statement imploring the Mayor and the Council to reject the subsidized stadium.
Since several of the signatories who have studied other stadium deals believe D.C.'s current lease proposal to be "the worst they've seen" for taxpayers, all five groups urged the Council not to be rushed in its deliberations.
"Bringing baseball to the District has been a long and contentious process and some self-interested parties would like to force a premature and costly resolution on the deal," the coalition's letter reminded officials. "However, all District residents would be better served by the Council passing a more fiscally responsible revision of the current plan at a later time."
Note: NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government. The full text of the letter to the D.C. Council is available online at www.ntu.org. For more information on the other signatories, visit www.foe.org (Friends of the Earth), www.dcfpi.org (DC Fiscal Policy Institute), www.cagw.org (Council for Citizens Against Government Waste), and www.taxpayer.net (Taxpayers for Common Sense Action).