Friday, June 20, 2008

Plenty Of Money For Stadia. But What About The Schools?

Yet again, Michael Bloomberg shows the citizens of New York City that his primary interest is funding private ventures and not schools, infrastructure, or public transit.

Bloomberg has the balls to support $350,000,000 in tax-exempt financing to build not schools, bridges, subways, hospitals, or roads, but to build a stadium owned by billionaires!

I am totally opposed to using ANY public funds for the construction of ANY stadium. We'll build the roads that lead to the stadium, and run the water and sewer lines to and from the stadium (as we do for any citizen), but for the rest of it, let the stadium owners pay.

The Working Families Party of New York is not standing-by quietly. They sent me the following email, and I took the action they requested.

Dear WFP Supporter,

Enough! That was the reaction of thousands of New Yorkers last Thursday to the news that Mayor Bloomberg is working behind the scenes in Washington to secure up to an additional $350 million in tax-exempt financing for the Yankees' new stadium.1

Bloomberg and the Bronx Bombers have teamed up to reverse a very sensible IRS rule. It says private sports teams should not have access to tax-free bond money meant for public development projects.2

If they succeed, other sports teams in NYC, and around the country, could see billions more in public money heading their way.

Luckily, not all politicians are rolling over for Steinbrenner and Bloomberg. State Assemblymen Ruben Diaz Jr., Hakeem Jeffries, and Jose Peralta are raising important questions that boil down to this: With funding needed for schools, healthcare, and mass transit, why on earth are we still talking about more corporate welfare for billion dollar sports teams?3

Momentum is on our side, but we need to make sure Mayor Mike gets his priorities straight.

Click below to send a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, asking him to keep public money going where it belongs:

If we can send thousands of letters to the Mayor, we can show him the public isn't behind another big subsidy for a team that doesn't need it.

Nothing says New York like the Yankees, and lots of Working Families voters are big fans. But Bloomberg's latest giveaway to Steinbrenner and friends could cost $83 million in state, local, and federal tax dollars.4 That's on top of $800 million in taxpayer money the stadium project has already received.5

Worst of all, the Yankees don't even need the money. They are one of the most profitable franchises in all of sports, and are on track to open their new stadium in 2009, with or without the new bonds.6

It makes you wonder, of all the things New York City's Mayor should be asking Washington's help for (like federal money to expand subway service or build new affordable housing), why is Mike prioritizing ill-advised public subsidies for a team that doesn't need them?

When it opens, we'll be there cheering as loud as ever in the new Yankee Stadium. But we'll never root for corporate welfare.

Take 20 seconds right now to make sure Mayor Mike knows how New York feels:

That's all for now.
Bertha Lewis, Bob Master, Sam Williams
WFP Co-Chairs
Dan Cantor
WFP Executive Director
1"A Question Mark Looms Over 3 Expensive Projects" New York Times, June 13, 2008
2"A Question Mark Looms Over 3 Expensive Projects" New York Times, June 13, 2008
3"No More Stadium Tax Breaks, Pols Howl" Daily News, June 12th, 2008
4According to New York City's Independent Budget Office.
5"Taxpayer Subsidies for the New Yankee Stadium and Parking Garages" Good Jobs New York
6"New York State Assembly Questions Yankee Stadium Funding" AP, June 13, 2008


You can sign the letter by clicking this link: Send the Mayor your Message: Schools, Not Stadiums

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