Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hardballin' Boosterism

We're going local again. I'm trying not to make it a habit. But ... anybody see this in the morning fishwrap? How did they get one of Sinclair Lewis's fictional characters as their lead editorial writer?
The most attractive feature is that it will not cost property owners. The city will borrow money to begin the project and pay those bonds off using mostly the increased tax revenue the new development generates from special taxing districts. The project will use local tax revenue but will not result in higher income or property taxes for local workers or property owners.

If successful, the city’s initial investment of about $63 million becomes a project worth $125 million. That’s a solid return on the public’s investment.

Residents should also consider the background and experience of the investors who want to partner with the city to create Harrison Square. Hardball Capital partners Jason Freier and Chris Shoen, the owners of the Wizards, have experience that goes beyond managing a minor league baseball team. Development is their specialty. And criticism that the Wizard’s owners are not putting enough money into the stadium is unfounded. They are investing “only” $5 million into the stadium, but they are putting millions more into other areas of the project. And the stadium will be city-owned.
Good heavens -- when the JG's editorial board takes the lure, they truly swallow the hook, don't they? Atlanta developers -- named "Hardball Capital," no less! How perfect can it be? -- with magical self-financing schemes, and hey! it's all good. Laissez le bon temps rouler! Good thing it wasn't Republicans trying to sell "supply-side" self-financing tax cuts ... I'm sure our morning-paper friends would be doing their more-customary Cotton Mather channeling act.

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