Arlington to lose $450m on Rangers stadium; mayor asks, “Got any better ideas?”

Remember when the city of Arlington released a crazy-ass FAQ about its plans to spend more than $500 million on a new Texas Rangers stadium, and pretended like the presence of the team was going to be worth $2.5 billion to the city when the actual tax revenues involved would be a tiny fraction of that? Dallas Morning News reporter Jeff Mozier, who’s been doing a stalwart job digging into the Rangers plan, crunched the numbers from the study and came up with a story with a hell of a headline:

Arlington could generate more tax dollars without new Texas Rangers stadium, city numbers suggest

Ouch! But also true: That $2.5 billion claim is economic activity, not actual new tax revenue — i.e., it’s the number you get if you add up all the Rangers-related money changing hands in the city over the next 40 years, regardless of whether any of it benefits the city treasury or anyone else in town besides the Rangers owners. The actual fiscal impact on the city budget is projected to be $134 million in new taxes and rent, which is obviously a lot less than $500 million. And that’s before you even take into account that most of the $134 million wouldn’t arrive for a couple of decades, while the $500 million would have to paid now — in present value, any new revenues would be closer to $50-60 million.

There are other problems with the city consultants’ projections — they included the impact of the Rangers staying in town starting immediately, for one, while the Rangers are already locked into staying put through 2023 — but given that we’re already looking at Arlington putting down at least $519 million for a return of at most $60 million, it almost doesn’t matter how much worse it gets. Asked about whether this was a worthwhile expense, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams replied that he couldn’t think of a better use of tax dollars: “I would love for anybody to tell me something else that is there for me to get.” I’m still waiting for somebody to take up Allen Sanderson on his suggestion of throwing money out of a helicopter — if nothing else, it would make for a nice controlled study.

6 comments on “Arlington to lose $450m on Rangers stadium; mayor asks, “Got any better ideas?”

  1. Does Arlington have room for soccer, basketball and hockey arenas too? I see a great need.

  2. It suck for all,take that money and invest in our police,code inforcment,fire,clean up all of central arlington.and then look at sports

  3. The financial numbers of this whole thing are nice and all, but we have to remember the central reason why the Rangers are demanding this new stadium which is, because after playing baseball in the DFW area for 44 years, the franchise has come to the inescapable conclusion that Texas gets really hot in the summer.

  4. Yes, Mayor Williams. There is something. Let the damn team go to Dallas or Fort Worth. At least you’d be able to get the bus to the ballpark then.

  5. Better ideas? Yes! Put a roof on the existing stadium and call it a day!
    I’m sure that wouldn’t fit into their plans of new office parks, shopping centers, etc., though.