The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an interview with Georgia World Congress Center Authority director Frank Poe over the weekend, in which he gave a whole string of reasons why he thinks it’s a good idea to spend $300 million (at least) on a new Falcons stadium. Let’s unpack them one at a time:
- The hotel-motel tax that would fund the stadium can’t be used for roads or schools anyway.
- The public’s investment would “buy a $1 billion asset” that “will be sustainable for the next 30 or 35 years.”
- If you want to have NFL football, “public-private financing is the way these deals are structured for the most part these days.”
- You can play college football and the World Cup there, too!
Taken in order:
- Money is fungible, so the hotel-motel tax revenue could always be used to fund something else that would free up money for schools.
- It’s tough to argue that a new stadium would last 30-35 years when the old one is being slated for replacement after just 20.
- “But all the other kids are doing it!”
- You can. But you can play college football at the Georgia Dome, and the World Cup is only played in the U.S. once a century.
The only arguments from the standard stadium playbook that Poe left out were that a stadium would boost the local economy and that the Falcons need one in order to remain competitive. But I guess he had to leave himself something for next week.