Monday, March 06, 2006

"Sins of omission?" Metro NY 03/06/06

While we were editing a response to the Yankee misinformation leaflet campaign (see March 1 blog entry) that they are conducting in the Bronx, Patrick Arden of Metro NY beat our deadline. We couldn't have said it better.

Sins of omission?

Pamphlets Yankees distribute to South Bronx residents simplify stadium plan financing

by patrick arden / metro new york

MAR 6, 2006

BRONX — Last week teenagers passed out glossy brochures to people who live near Yankee Stadium.

The flyers — “paid for by the New York Yankees” — promise to answer questions about the team’s plan for a new ballpark.


“Are we, New York’s taxpayers, paying for a new Yankee Stadium?”

“No,” the answer states. “The taxpayers of the City of New York are NOT paying the approximate $800 million cost of constructing a new state-of-the-art stadium across the street from where the current stadium is located.”

That response neglects to mention the entire project actually costs $1.2 billion and taxpayer subsidies have been proposed for every component of the plan. The new ballpark has always been pitched as a private investment with limited government aid.

Some taxpayer costs are not debated. The city will pay $103 million to replace lost parkland and $27 million to tear down the current stadium. The state will hand over $74 million to build underground parking garages.

But over time the public’s price tag has grown — and grown increasingly unclear.

The $800 million stadium will be financed with $930 million in city bonds, most of them tax-exempt. The tax savings will lower the team’s cost of borrowing, and this comes on top of similar public subsidies in the form of exemptions from mortgage recording taxes and sales taxes on construction materials.

Under an arrangement that still needs City Council approval, the amount the team would have spent on property taxes to the city would now go to pay off its debt, said Daniel Steinberg, a research analyst with Good Jobs New York, a government watchdog group that claims public subsidies for the new Yankee Stadium could exceed $480 million.

The team would also no longer pay rent to the city. Between 2000 and 2004, the Yankees paid the city $26 million in rent after deducting maintenance costs.

According to a study for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the city will get back only $96 million in tax revenue over the next 30 years.


“Are we losing important green space, including parks and playgrounds?”

“No” is the team’s response. “The new stadium project will actually create more acres of parkland than currently exist.”

The stadium would claim 22 acres of McCombs Dam and John Mullaly parks, and the city said it would replace this lost parkland with 24 acres of new space.

“At the end of the day, the city is not gaining parkland,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. “They’re building replacement parkland on top of exiting parkland next to Yankee Stadium, and they’re including a pedestrian walkway as active parkland. It’s not a fair swap — they’re taking natural parkland and replacing it with artificial turf on top of a parking garage.” One five-acre parcel is a mile away.

The neighborhood, which suffers from the city’s highest asthma rate, would lose 400 mature trees. Though the Yankees’ flyer promises “interim park facilities” during construction, the community would not get its new park until after the stadium opens in 2009.


The brochure claims the new stadium “means approximately 7,000 new construction jobs and approximately 1,000 permanent jobs.”

In January, Borough President Adolfo Carrion said 25 percent of construction jobs will go to Bronx residents and 25 percent of contracts will go to Bronx businesses.

“By the city’s own projections, most of the permanent jobs would be seasonal and low wage,” Steinberg said. “The Yankees should not receive taxpayer subsidies to create poverty-wage jobs.”

Call to the Yankees yesterday were not returned.


At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Steinbrenner, welfare queen.


Post a Comment

<< Home