Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Yankees swing for bling in new plan" NY Daily News 1/8/9

Yankees swing for bling in new plan

Thursday, January 8th 2009, 1:34 AM

More than a quarter of the $370 million in taxpayer financing in the Yankees' latest demand would go to shiny new toys like giant video screens and upgraded luxury suites, documents show.

Nearly $95 million is for "scope modifications" - items not in the team's original plan when it got $942million in tax-exempt bonds via the city.

The city says the project will more than pay for itself by revitalizing a rundown area of the Bronx.

Yesterday, critics of the stadium's public subsidy, including Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, (D-Westchester) struck out at the baseball team's latest demand. It comes as tax revenue is dwindling and Mayor Bloomberg has ordered all agencies to trim their budgets.

"When we're broke and we can't fund the MTA and we can't fund schools, to give the Yankees another $400 million is bizarre," Brodsky said.

Bloomberg testily refused to respond to the criticism. "I just don't have enough time to answer every one of Brodsky's complaints," he said.

On Tueday, the city released documents detailing why the Yankees and Mets want more taxpayer money and how they plan to spend it. The requests face a hearing Wednesday. If they pass, the Yankees will be in line for $1.3 billion in tax-exempt financing.

The Mets also have requested another $82.2 million on top of the $612 million in tax-free bonds they've already received. They are seeking about $13million for new goodies, including more restaurant space, high-definition scoreboards and security upgrades.

The Yankees' $95 million in extras includes $14.2 million for a scoreboard, $10.7million for a giant video board and $10.4 million in luxury suite upgrades.

The team wants more money to make room for two restaurants, a New York Yankees Steakhouse and a Hard Rock Cafe.

"It's terrific that they want to have a Hard Rock Cafe and a steakhouse there, but why should the taxpayer pay for that?" Brodsky asked.


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