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Date Posted: Tue, September 28 2004, 0:27:41
Author: GBM
Subject: Dr. Depken
In reply to: UTA_alum 's message, "Doing my part" on Mon, September 27 2004, 22:58:29

Here is what I found on Dr. Depken's blog.....a LOT of what he says makes sense to me.......but I still think this thing will pass because it is the cowboys......friggin america's team.....god I hate the cowboys....go giants!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Thinking man's propoganda

In yesterday's mail came the first round of anti-subsidy propoganda. Unlike the pro-subsidy side, which distributes mailers depicting pictures of happy children and families (see below), the No Jones Tax group actually has an argument against the stadium proposal which requires text and reading (gasp!).

Their anti-subsidy propoganda was printed on the front and back of a letter size piece of paper and is much cheaper, which likely reflects the amount of money they have to spend (but also perhaps how much each individual member of the anti-subsidy group has at stake compared to the huge windfall that is at stake for the Cowboys ownership). Moreover, the anti-subsidy group asked a lot of questions (some more pertinent than others) that voters should probably think about.

Unfortunately, I am sure that a lot of people have made up their minds - or if they are on the fence they won't take the time to read an 800 word letter but would rather look at puppy dogs being walked in the park. Slick marketing obviously works more often than not - whether you are selling the latest perfume or a $650 million dollar elephant.

A comparison of the two styles:

What the picture on the left has to do with a stadium, I am not sure. But then I am a cold-hearted economist who doesn't understand the warm fuzzy feeling that Arlingtonians will experience when we have paid for a new stadium - siblings won't fight with siblings, kids won't yell at their parents, parents won't yell at each other.

The real problem with the brochure on the left are the lies of commission and ommission. The numbers come from the economic benefit study commissioned by the city but, as I have mentioned before on Heavy Lifting, the numbers don't pass the smell test.

The $2.9m in sales tax comes from the ERA study, and is the best spin the pro-subsidy advocates could come up with. But think of the dollar costs of raising this amount - this is in return for generating (in a static measure) $19m per year in local sales tax for the stadium.

The $238m in economic activity is the highest number that the ERA could come up with, so it is likely overstated, but I don't even need to be concerned with ERA's motivation. This number would represent 5 PERCENT of the Arlington economy.

I cannot see how a football stadium could yield a permanent five percent increase in economic activity for just ten games a year (even if there were tractor pulls, etc., during the off season). If this number were true, consider what would happen if the NFL season included twenty home games? Hell, cities would be demanding football teams play year round for the impressive economic boost it would provide their local economies. Cities don't, because teams don't.

$325m to "clean up a high crime area." Areas don't commit crime, people do. Right now, there are a lot of people concentrated in one area, I know where they are, they commit crimes, and I don't go there. After the stadium displaces these people are we to expect they will a) quit committing crimes, b) go live in Grand Prarie, or c) disperse themselves throughout the rest of the city and continue to commit crime?

It is not clear whether the team will have to provide it's $325m.

$60 million in rent - $2m per year for thirty years, not indexed for inflation, and paid to the city - I believe - although I can't figure out if the rent goes to the city or the stadium authority (who would use the rent to pay off debt).

Regardless, the rent is absurdly low to begin with. Assuming the team did pay $325m - a big assumption - the property's value is $325m more because of the city's contribution - the city as a landlord charges the tennent of the $650m "house" a paltry $2m per year (approximately 0.3% per year?). To put things in perspective, if you owned a house worth $100,000 would you rent it out for only $307 per year? If you want to count the landlord's portion only - $325m - the rent is 0.6% of the property's value. Back to our house example, this would be the same as renting out a $100,000 house for $614 per year. Great deal for the tennent - lousy deal for the landlord.

You wouldn't do this as a private landlord but it is okay for the city to do this as a landlord? And it is considered not only acceptable but a reason to vote for the stadium propsal?

$16.5m donated to the sports fields and youth initiatives - Again, doing it for the children is not a good reason to vote for a stadium. The half penny sales tax will raise $19m per year. If you want $500,000 per year dedicated to local youth sports, there are plenty of less distortionary ways to do this.

In the end, these numbers do not pass the smell test - which is what the No Jones Tax folks are trying to get across. Unfortunately, glossy marketing may ultimately win.

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  • Re: Doing my part -- 91, Tue, September 28 2004, 9:53:13

  • Re: Doing my part -- giantbenmav, Tue, September 28 2004, 10:43:07

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