Thursday, July 16, 2015

Balanced budget, sort of; Unbalanced priorities definitely: Walker crosses a line

From US Uncut on Facebook:

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts:
If President Barack Obama has his way, the nation’s taxpayers would not help finance a new arena proposed for the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team.

Nor would taxpayer-financed, tax-free bonds be used to help finance a new stadium being discussed in St. Louis for the NFL Rams, or in Oakland for a new complex aimed at keeping the area’s professional football, baseball and basketball franchises from leaving town.

An obscure item in the president’s new budget would put an end to the longstanding practice of states and cities using tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports arenas, a practice that costs the U.S. Treasury $146 million, according to a 2012 Bloomberg analysis.
Dennis Zimmerman, an economist who worked for the Congressional Budget Office and is now director of projects for the American Tax Policy Institute, is a longtime critic of the financing. He said the president is right in proposing to eliminate the subsidies that benefit often wealthy professional team owners.

“I’m glad he put it in the budget,” Zimmerman said. “Tax-exempt bonds are supposed to be for state and local infrastructure” and not private business.

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker in January proposed funding a $470 million arena for the Bucks with the help of $220 million in state bonds as part of his budget plan.
Walker said that without a new arena, the Bucks would “likely leave Wisconsin in 2017, costing the state nearly $10 million per year in income tax collections alone.”
The proposal is drawing criticism from conservatives such as the Wisconsin chapter of the free-market group Americans for Prosperity. State director David Fladeboe said the group is “disappointed that the (governor’s) budget still plans to use public funds on the Milwaukee arena.”

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s spokeswoman, said that until Congress acts, the governor is undeterred.
Yup, the corruption has to be pretty bad before even fellow conservatives working for another arguably competing Walker donor / politician "buyer" objects.

This is what public corruption looks like (imho).

Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe that there would be no quid pro quo, direct or indirect, between the owners and the newly minted candidate for president, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker? See the Penigma piece on Walker  below.

Good for President Obama that he is at least attempting to block this kind of extortion by rich sports team owners of the public and public officials.

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