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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

D.C. Ballpark Tax Funds City's Operating Budget

Nationals Washington Examiner, Ballpark Tax May be Here to Stay:

A citywide business tax the D.C. Council passed to help to help pay for the $611 million Washington Nationals ballpark has become such a cash cow that the city is now using it to help close its nine-figure budget gap.

D.C. passed a tax on businesses' gross receipts to help finance the construction of the stadium. From fiscal 2005 until the end of this fiscal year, more than $129 million will have been collected, finance office records show. Overall, the city will have netted more than $135 million in all taxes and rent above what the city is paying back in bond payments from fiscal 2005 to 2010.

But instead of using the surplus funds to pay the stadium off, Mayor Adrian Fenty and the city council are using the money to plug monstrous holes in the District's budget. ...

Many business leaders are crying foul. "The deal that we had ... was that any excess monies would be used to pay down the bond," said D.C. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Barbara Lang. "We would like to see those bonds paid off earlier to relieve us of that tax. I'm very concerned that it will become part of the city's operating budget." ... Councilman David Catania, I-At Large, said, "my hope is we'll raid this revenue only so long as we need to."

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In order to provide a nice ballpark for a crummy baseball team, Washington D.C. enacted a "temporary" business gross receipts... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 2, 2010 8:20:08 AM

Comments

Councilman David Catania, I-At Large, said, "my hope is we'll raid this revenue only so long as we need to."

I laughed out loud at that.

Posted by: guy in the veal calf office | Jun 2, 2010 1:31:10 PM

In 1966, Atlanta needed $18 million to build its baseball stadium. After 30 years of "retiring the bond debt" on it and thanks to the spending of politicians, the city still owed more on it than what it cost. So much for taking taxpayers off the hook.

Fortunately for the city and as part of the 1996 Olympics, the Atlanta Olympic Committee constructed a new stadium that would later be converted into Turner Field. The Olympic Committee paid off the debt on the old stadium and, after the Olympics were over, converted the new stadium into a baseball field and donated it to the city. Sometimes even crooks and idiots get lucky. Rarely, do the taxpayers.

The last time that I ever voted for a tax increase was for a sales tax which was committed to reducing property taxes. That lasted one year. Property taxes went back up and the sales tax never went away.

Government is great at borrowing and making promises, but rarely has the intention of paying back its obligations.

Posted by: Woody | Jun 2, 2010 2:33:45 PM