LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees' Levine Appears At Committee Hearing

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yankees' Levine Appears At Committee Hearing

Yesterday, New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester County) (pictured, left) convened his much-talked-about hearing about funding the new Yankee Stadium. There was a lot of arguing and name-calling, but in the end, nothing really got resolved. Brodsky still insists that taxpayers are paying for the new Stadium and Randy Levine still insists they're not.

After my previous post, I thought about this some more and, I still don't understand it completely. However, I am pretty much convinced that the Yankees did nothing wrong here. To my complete surprise, neither does The New York Post. My general opinion of this paper is that it's nothing more than a filthy rag. But in an editorial they ran yesterday, they explained this whole thing better than I ever could. Read these major points from the editorial:

* Why does Brodsky insist on lying - outright - about the cost of the stadium? He says it's $4 billion (up from his nonsensical claim of $2 billion, issued just last week). In fact, the actual total tab will be just $1.3 billion.

* Why does Brodsky want taxpayers to think they'll be picking up the costs? In fact, the Yanks will cover every last cent of that $1.3 billion, plus the costs of ongoing maintenance - even though the city will wind up owning the ballpark.

* Why has Brodsky voted repeatedly to back stadium-related legislation, while voting also to promote gambling interests, including "ayes" for tax incentives for Monticello Raceway and a $140 million cash bailout for the scandal-wracked New York Racing Association?

And, these:

Nobody is asking taxpayers to hand the Yankees $400 mill.

Nor even to lend them that much.

Yes, the extra tax-exempt bonds will cost the city and state - a whole $18 million in foregone tax revenue over the decades-long life of the bonds.

Again, not $400 million.

And certainly not "$4 billion.

Yes, New Yorkers will also pony up for a new Metro-North station.

But government routinely provides infrastructure improvements to promote development. And tax breaks, too.

It's true that the team is to pay for construction in lieu of paying property taxes. But the city winds up owning the stadium - plus some first-rate neighborhood parks, sports facilities and community amenities paid for by the Yankees.

My compliments to the Post for providing the Cliff Notes. I doubt it will help though. The average New Yorker is neither a Yankee fan or even a baseball fan, so the Yankees will continue to be thought of as receiving a handout while hardworking taxpayers do without.


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