Monday, December 15, 2008

"Brodsky Expands Inquiry into Public Subsidies of Sports Stadia" Yonkers Tribune 12/14/8

Brodsky Expands Inquiry into Public Subsidies of Sports Stadia

Elmsford, NY -- Assemblymember Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) today announced an expanded inquiry into the move toward additional taxpayer assistance of $450 million for the construction of the new Yankee and Met stadia. This assistance is in addition to the over $2 billion already given. The Chairman had begun the inquiry by chairing a public hearing on the taxpayer subsidies on July 2 of this year. His work revealed that contrary to public claims, there was little if any economic benefit to taxpayers in return for their money, that taxpayers, not the professional sports teams were paying for construction of the facilities, that the City did nothing to limit the ticket prices paid by those wishing to attend games, that the assessment of land beneath Yankee Stadium had been artificially and illegally inflated, that city officials strenuously and successfully sought a free luxury suite for themselves, that these issues and decisions were done secretively, and that elected officials, other than the Mayor, had little effective control of the process.

Subsequently, a Congressional Sub-Committee had two public hearings, the City withheld and then partially released requested documents, and still is withholding the bulk of those documents.

"We don't have the money to fund trains, schools or hospitals, yet two of the richest, most profitable companies in the world are turning to taxpayers for support," said Assemblyman Brodsky. "What public interest is served by these subsidies, especially when average citizens cannot afford the enormous increase in ticket prices? Who is protecting the public interest? How can we afford these subsidies when we can't find the money to fund mass transit or schools without enormous tax increases? We're going to get answers to these questions."

He continued, "We have watched as across New York IDAs have become vehicles for special deals that don't benefit the economy. It's not just that we can't afford these kinds of giveaways, it's that we have important economic development work that doesn't have the resources wasted on giveaways. The Assembly has been pushing to reform the system, and we're going to get at the truth of the stadium deals."

The Chairman said he would make announcements about the next steps in the inquiry shortly.

A copy of the Committee's Report is available at


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