A million here, a million there

With little fanfare, the New York state legislature has stuck several line items in its 2006 capital budget providing subsidies to the state’s sports franchises – or would-be sports franchises. The website No Land Grab this week uncovered $33 million in the state education budget – yeah, education budget – for “Atlantic Yards Railway – Nets Project,” though the proposed Brooklyn Nets deal has yet to even have an environmental impact study or public hearings.

At the other end of the state, meanwhile, the Rochester Rhinos minor-league soccer team is set to get an additional $12 million in state aid for its stadium project, under an agreement by the legislature and New York Gov. George Pataki. Writes the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

So after years of wrangling, the team may end up with a stadium close to what was initially proposed six years ago — a $40 million facility that holds close to 20,000 fans. The difference is that about 78 percent of the cost is coming from taxpayers. The Rhinos originally proposed paying for most of it themselves.

Le plus ça change…

All this as the state faces a budget that “spends too much, reforms too little, leaves the state in the future with financial hurdles that we’ve already been over and shouldn’t have to face again ” – that according to Gov. George Pataki, who has threatened to veto items that he considers wasteful spending. Presumably the sports projects, which Pataki has supported, won’t get the red-line treatment, though some folks are still trying to convince the governor otherwise.


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