Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let Them Go to Kansas City

Update: I guess we have Scenario 3 and I can live with it. It looks like no local tax revenue (city, country or RAD) will go to this. And if we are to have casinos in Pennsylvania, I suppose diverting some of the profits to this is ok. According to Gov. Rendell, some of the casino funds were already dedicated to economic development and the state money for the arena will come from that. Most interesting is the plan for economic development rights around the arena: the Penguins get them parceled out year by year and then lose them each year if they do nothing. But I can still fantasize about Pennsylvania politicians singing Rodgers and Hammerstein can't I?

Let me get this straight:

Scenario 1:
The Penguins can pay no rent to Kansas City and the citizens of Kansas City and Missouri can shell out the money to run the arena there and we can ask Mr. Barden to spend $7.5 million a year on community development instead of a hockey arena. Maybe he can even renovate Mellon Arena and turn it into something like a big concert hall with a retractable roof.

Unhappy people: Penguins fans in Pittsburgh.
Happy people: Taxpayers in Pennsylvania and Penguins owners.
Stupid people: Taxpayers and officials in Kansas City and Missouri who are giving away millions to a for-profit business.


Scenario 2:
The citizens of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Pennsylvania shell out lots of money
for a new arena and/or forego the use of tax revenue and casino profits for other purposes. The Penguins spend money that they wouldn't have to spend in Kansas City. Kansas City continues to look for someone to occupy their new arena for nothing.

Unhappy people: Penguins owners; taxpayers in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania; Kansas City officials and residents.
Happy people: Penguins fans in Pittsburgh.
Stupid people: The people in Kansas City and Missouri now joined by the people of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

I might see this differently if I were at all interested in hockey, but it looks like a no-brainer to me. If I were Ed Rendell, I would call Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle and start singing a certain Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite through the phone.

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