In case you’ve been wondering, MLB officials still haven’t responded to the Washington Nationals stadium lease passed by the D.C. city council last month – unless you count Huey Long epithets as a response. With the deadline to respond coming up next week, somebody did blink yesterday, though: D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, who proposed kicking in an additional $20 million in city tax revenue to cover cost overruns.
Needless to say, those on the council who thought they’d passed a $611 million cap on public expenditures were not pleased by Williams’ latest gambit. “This is the mushiest cap imaginable,” councilmember Jim Graham told the Washington Post. “Here we go – the next loophole we can drive the truck through.”
The loophole in question was reportedly inserted by council chair Linda Cropp, who added last-second language allowing that “district government non-General Fund funds may be used if required by the bond indenture.” Williams says this means he can use any surplus stadium tax revenue left over after making bond payments to pay for cost overruns; Cropp’s not talking; and the D.C. attorney general is still reviewing the legislation. Looks like we could be in for yet another down-to-the-wire drama in D.C. – and potentially yet another hike in the taxpayers’ tab.