Following up on some earlier thoughts about Milwaukee's (well, really the MMAC's) fascination with Oklahoma City (OKC) and their new basketball stadium, partially funded by a 1 percent sales tax.
An additional 1% on the sales tax to pay for infrastructure and other civic investments is a worthy idea, used by OKC to finance some of their new projects. (Taxpayers have already voted in favor of such a tax to support our parks.) But, is a basketball arena the first priority of such spending? Considering transportation, water, sewer, education, health care, and a host of other more immediate needs, is a sport venue the crucial link to fostering explosive growth?
What we have here is a self-interested cabal throwing everything they can think of at taxpayers hoping something finally persuades them into thinking that subsidizing a sport arena is a great investment (again).
Sports are fun, stadiums are economic catalysts, Herb Kohl is a good guy, we need the Bucks to be a "big league" city, etc. Now they're surveying the country, identifying the most recently completed basketball stadiums, and if that city or region is experiencing growth, abracadabra - the stadium is a defining element of that growth, and yet another reason why Milwaukee should get on this bandwagon.
OKC is growing ... and they just built a basketball stadium ... ergo, Milwaukee needs to get with the program if they want to experience growth. Nevermind our lack of an advanced rail system (when compared with other cities), shrinking bus routes, continual cuts to our parks, crumbling bridges and roads, declining schools, to name a few. For the majority of residents (businesses and individuals), these needs far outweigh a sport stadium.
For Further Reading:
Are Basketball Arenas Catalysts Of Economic Development?
As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On
Buck The System
City Lays Off Workers While Giving Millions To Pro Hockey Team
Economic Engine Or Albatross?
Economic Of Sports Facilities & Their Communities
5 Cities Financing Pro Stadium Boondoggles
Growth Effects Of Sports Franchises, Stadia, And Arenas
Is There Anything A Stadium Can't Solve?
NBA Arenas Lousy For Local Economies
Overblown Bradley Center Impacts
Professional Sports As Catalysts For Metropolitan Economic Development
Selig Defends Taxpayer Subsidies For Stadiums
Should Cities Pay For Sports Facilities
Stadiums Don't Bolster Local Economies
Will Herb Kohl Blackmail Milwaukee?