The Sacramento Press headline is “Arena plan moving forward,” but there are few new details on the Kings land-swap plan. To me, the most interesting bit is what it reveals about sports-facility salesmanship:
“The city and the state are not in a position to invest anything into these properties,” [developer Gerry Kamilos] said. “The idea is to have the private sector come in and provide the capital to increase the value of those properties that both the city and state would benefit from.”
Financing is proposed to come from land sales, parking fees, lease revenue, special districts to collect sales and property taxes from the properties, and bond proceeds generated by setting up tax increment districts, refinance districts and bond districts, Kamilos said.
So let’s see: Sale of public land, special sales- and property-tax districts, tax increment financing (which is basically another form of property-tax kickbacks) — yeah, there’s no way any of that could be construed as the city and state “investing anything” in the project.
Now, Kamilos would no doubt say that he doesn’t mean no public involvement at all — the city and state just aren’t going to directly pour any cash into developments at that site. But that’s not how most readers are going to take it when they see “no city and state investment.”
In fact, this has become one of the standards of the stadium-grubbers’ handbook: Claim that you won’t need public money, then look for ways to use public money. And this tactic becomes much easier when the journalists reporting your statements are too credulous, lazy, or financially illiterate to call you on it.