Remember when I wondered if all the unfunded transportation improvement mandates in the Atlanta Braves stadium plan were going to end up leading to the team asking for state money on top of the $300 million it’s trying to get from Cobb County? Turns out that it could be worse than that: According to Atlanta Magazine, the Braves owners have considered asking for state tax breaks to defray their own share of the stadium costs:
If you thought the Braves’ move to Cobb County would leave just Cobb taxpayers on the hook, think again. The team’s execs may seek millions more in tax credits from the state — largesse that would be underwritten by all Georgians…
A document obtained under the Georgia Open Records Act shows that negotiators for Cobb County and the Braves considered funding packages that included up to $60 million in state tax credits on top of the $300 million in county funding.
The current financing plan, in fact, is built on the assumption that state tax incentives and/or reduced construction costs for parking could trim the Braves’ obligation by up to $50 million.
These state tax breaks apparently could include rebates on sales and/or income taxes offered by the state to businesses expanding or relocating within Georgia. Granting these tax breaks to the Braves — for, as the magazine notes, “relocating the same team to a new stadium a mere fourteen miles away” — would definitely require the approval of Gov. Nathan Deal; it’s not immediately clear whether the Georgia state legislature would get to weigh in as well.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Journal Constitution’s PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter (yes, that’s its name) has delved into the claim by flyers sent out by the Revitalize Cobb business group promising “9,241 New Jobs + $295,000,000 in Wages + $0 Tax Increase for Homeowners + $3,000,000 Annually for Cobb Schools = 1 Great Deal for Cobb Residents.” Only one problem, reports PolitiFact: Those 9,241 jobs wouldn’t all go to Cobb County residents — according to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce study that the Revitalize Cobb flyer is based on, only 784 full-time equivalent jobs would go to Cobb residents. And looking at it as a 9,241-job boost to regional employment isn’t right, either, because “for the most part, jobs that already exist in downtown Atlanta are simply moving to Cobb.” (PolitiFact thus rated the Revitalize Cobb claims to be “Mostly False.”)
Downplaying the fact that most economic impact would be cannibalized from elsewhere in your metro area even though it’s actually included elsewhere in your report? Where have I heard that before?