(Alexandria, VA)– Yesterday, Nassau County voters overwhelmingly rejected (56 percent-43percent) a referendum that would have issued $400 million in bonds to build anew stadium complex primarily for the New York Islanders. According to theNational Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has studied the fiscal woes that similarschemes 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 StateGovernment Affairs Manager Brent Mead offered the following comments upondefeat of the referendum:
“Thetaxpayers of Nassau County have just affirmed at the ballot box what manycitizen groups and economists have pointed out previously: sports-stadium dealsnegotiated between owners and politicians can often be raw deals for taxpayers.
“TheIslanders stadium plan would have hit taxpayers with a 3.5 percent-4 percentproperty tax hike, and upwards of $800 million in bonds outstanding over a30-year period. These numbers are far more dramatic than the rosy estimatestouted by proponents of the arena project, like the claim that the tax hikeonly amounted to $14 per household. Even the projected revenue numbers wouldhave fallen well short of the annual interest payments.
“Addinginsult to injury, simply holding the vote in a special election cost taxpayers$2.2 million!
“Despiteall these unpredictable expenses and tax increases on one of the most over-taxedcounties in America, the Islanders would simply have been a tenant of the newstadium and would have remained vulnerable to being sold by the owner and movedoff of Long Island.
“Thegood judgment of taxpayers saved Nassau County from a government which is alreadyover $100 million in debt, clearly cannot manage itself, and is under statefinancial control.”
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working forlower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Moreinformation, including studies on taxpayer-funded sport facilities, isavailable at www.ntu.org.