A domed stadium sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? Of course it does, but on whose dime? Sunday’s front-page story lists a price tag of $1.2 billion (“Stadium document outlines financing”). Common sense tells us that the dollar figure is only the base price, designed to get that lucky customer through the door. Once inside, surprise, the only model left is the one loaded up with options. After all of the “unforeseen” and “unexpected” costs are added in, there is no telling where the price tops out, but you can be certain it will be well north of $1.2 billion.
For anyone living in a rational world, and for anyone tuned in to the current state of taxpayer agitation, the first paragraph in that story seals the deal for me: No way! Why does this project require $780 million in public financing? That is equivalent to 65 percent of the total projected cost. If the proponents of the project don’t believe it can bring the appropriate return on investment without public financing, then it is not worth doing.
Yes, I do see where we get to stick it to the tourists (again) for the bulk of the public portion. How many times are we prepared to dip into that well before it runs dry? Maybe we can even get MGM Resorts to share a sliver of the parking fees they will be collecting. MGM might even want to implement “dynamic” pricing on game days. This way, the casino won’t get hurt.
The article also states Las Vegas Sands Corp. is estimating a $600 million to $800 million annual economic benefit, including $200 million in direct construction wages. But keep in mind that those construction wages occur only once. So, is it really $400 million to $600 million annually, or some other impressive sounding number?
Multiple studies have demonstrated public funds used for the construction of stadiums do not result in the financial benefits touted by promoters of such projects. At best, it’s a break-even proposition.
Let’s get a bit more serious here: How is it that with a straight face, anyone is willing to utter the words “$1.2 billion stadium” and “UNLV football” in the same conversation? And we shouldn’t forget about the Oakland Raiders. For the longest time, that mercenary team has been desperately trying to sell itself out to anyone who appears an easy mark, and the team has just found another one that looks promising.
Conceptually, I think the idea of a stadium is a good one. The financing, however, must not be underwritten with any public funds.
GOP neglects voters
As a retiree, I’ve been a Republican for close to 50 years. I’ve attended two Donald Trump rallies in Las Vegas. At the second rally, I met Michael McDonald, chairman of the Nevada Republican Party. We spoke for a few minutes and briefly discussed a few topics. I made a few suggestions that I felt might benefit both the candidate and more specifically the Republican Party here in Nevada.
Mr. McDonald encouraged me email him some of my ideas and gave me his personal card. I have gotten no response. This is typical of what the political process has become. All that matters are the donors, certainly not the voters. It’s not surprising that Mr. Trump and other outsiders are helping to break up the party. I will attend the caucus this month to support Donald Trump. After that, I will withdraw from the GOP and register as an independent.
Although I now live in Oregon, I spent more than 30 years in Nevada. With respect to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, I would like to point out that the federal lands situation is different in Oregon than in Nevada, where the federal government has indeed forced its land ownership will on the state since day one (as part of the conditions for statehood).
The fatal miscalculations of the Bundys and their supporters largely stem from their apparent assumption that the situation in Oregon was the same. First, that particular area is part of ancient Paiute tribal lands. In fact, the tribe’s historical artifacts there are under federal care by a 19th century treaty. Second, the occupiers were never going to gain widespread local support for local ownership and governance of the refuge, by either the residents of Harney County or the state of Oregon.
It’s not that the resentment of the federal government and its land policy doesn’t exist here in Oregon, but most view the armed occupation of our land by out-of-state gangs as even worse, because at least with the federal government, we can have a dialog via our elected officials.