And as long as I’m making fun of terrible alleged journalism this morning, I can’t pass up OnMilwaukee.com sports editor Jim Owczarski’s column telling Milwaukee residents to quit “whining” about the “minuscule” sales tax hike that paid for the Brewers‘ new stadium, because “if you’re buying a $30,000 car, an extra $200 or whatever it comes out to isn’t a big deal in the scheme of it.” It goes on like that for a while, unremarkably enough for columns in this vein, but then Owczarski goes for what he undoubtedly sees as the knockout blow by citing the $200 million that the Bucks‘ owners are pledging toward a new $400-500 million Milwaukee arena:
No city, or state, gets a $200 million down payment on a new, multipurpose complex.
Here, courtesy of Judith Grant Long’s invaluable book Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities, is a list of sports teams whose owners have contributed more than $200 million (in 2010 dollars) toward their new buildings: The New York Jets, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Dallas Mavericks and Stars, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators, Portland Trailblazers, St. Louis Blues, and Toronto Blue Jays. And that’s after accounting for hidden costs like property tax breaks, which the Bucks owners may yet ask for, and not including projects that were completed since Long’s book came out, like the Brooklyn Nets‘ arena or the Golden State Warriors’ proposed all-privately-funded $1.2 billion venue.
Now, lots of those other cities put in a bunch of public money to those projects as well — but then, Milwaukee is expected to as well, which is the whole ostensible point of Owczarski’s piece. I stopped giving out annual “Dumbest Reasons to Build a Stadium” awards a long while back, but this year I may have to make an exception…