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Glendale, AZ is giving taxpayers the chills over proposed hockey deal

by John Stephenson / /

Ice hockey is a lot of fun to watch. Whether you enjoy the speed of the game, the skill of the players, or the nightly fisticuffs on the ice, there is always something exciting to see in this sport. But no matter how exciting hockey may be to watch, a passion for the sport is no substitute for fiscal responsibility, especially for a government in these times of economic uncertainty in Arizona.

Taxpayers should be concerned over news that the City of Glendale, Arizona is trying to complete a $197 million bond sale to finance a deal under which a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager would oversee the Jobing.com Arena and, eventually, purchase the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team. While no one questions Glendale's love for sports, this is bad public policy. Research by NTU and other organizations has found that such arrangements are inefficient uses of hard-earned tax money and produce few, if any, lasting benefits for the local economy.

As I stated in a letter to the City Council, "public financing for the sale of professional sports team is an economically inefficient and morally deficient use of taxpayer dollars. Such arrangements are akin to corporate welfare by government, which economic policy experts from across the ideological spectrum criticize as unwarranted, wasteful, and unfair. Claims that these ventures will reward the City with “job creation” ignore the fact that government underwriting for such arrangements often leads to higher property taxes that could lead to a slowdown in economic activity and job losses elsewhere. If Glendale’s goal is economic development, then the City should focus its efforts on sound budget and tax policies that will promote economic growth."

Let's hope that the City and taxpayers see the problems with this deal or else everyone will pay the penalty.