Now here’s a lede, courtesy of Bloomberg News:
Last month, Miami politicians approved a $19 million subsidy for the professional basketball arena. Six weeks later, they turned to a grimmer task: deciding how many police and librarians to fire.
It’s not quite fair to blame Miami-Dade County’s $64 million budget hole, which could require 700 layoffs, on the Heat arena subsidy deal, since that’s only costing the county $19 million in subsidies over 20 years (and more like $6 million in present value). Still, it’s not helping any, and does point up not only that it’s easier to get public money if you’re a rich guy with a sports team than if you’re actually working for the public, but that sports subsidies can often paint future elected officials into a budget corner. As Holy Cross sports economist Victor Matheson tells Bloomberg:
“You can’t stop your debt payments without actually declaring bankruptcy,” he said. “But you can cut the number of police officers and teachers and librarians and firefighters.”