Virginia governor shouts “Virginia!” a lot as rationale for building NFL stadium

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gave his latest pitch for building an NFL stadium on Wednesday, and busted open the state exclamation point reserves in the process:

“A majority of the folks who go to the games, season-ticket holders, are from where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!” McAuliffe pointed out to an audience that included Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, team president Bruce Allen and 600 well-heeled supporters. “Sixty-six percent of the revenue to the Redskins comes from where? Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia! Every player lives where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!”

After thanking the Redskins for being “a great economic driver” for the state, McAuliffe noted: “We have your headquarters! We have your training facility! What else could there possibly be?”

Inasmuch as one can make sense of a PR statement — the Washington Post also notes that McAuliffe “threw in the fact that Virginia was home to eight U.S. presidents, 281 wineries and boasts 28 miles of oceanfront and had dolphins frolicking in the surf rather than sharks,” which would be a bit much even if it were entirely true — let’s try to make sense of what McAuliffe is saying:

  • “A majority of the folks who go to the games, season-ticket holders, are from where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!” Okay, so? If they were from the state of Maryland, or for that matter the mysterious mountains of Delaware, the question to ask would be the same: How much more economic activity and tax revenue would Virginia get if the team were playing in that state instead of across the border in Maryland? That’s a worthwhile question to ask — stealing money from your neighbor is one way to pay for a stadium, if a morally dubious one — but McAuliffe never gets around to asking it.
  • “Sixty-six percent of the revenue to the Redskins comes from where? Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia!” Again, that’s all well and good, but it doesn’t indicate that Virginia would get anything more of the team playing there. Unless you think that Virginia fans would rather drive to a stadium in their home state than drive to one in Maryland, which might be true of a few folks right near wherever a stadium got built, but there are plenty of Virginians who can get to the current stadium site just fine.
  • “Every player lives where? The Commonwealth of Virginia!” So… the players on Washington’s NFL team are living in Virginia and playing Virginia income taxes even though the stadium is in Maryland? Seems like you’ve got a sweet deal going there, governor — why do you need to spend money on a stadium when you’re already getting the benefits of there being one across the border?

Governors are paid to think stupid thoughts, is what I’m getting at here, and some of them are real good at it. Between Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., Daniel Snyder is going to have a real fun time running this bidding war.


2 comments on “Virginia governor shouts “Virginia!” a lot as rationale for building NFL stadium

  1. Well, to be fair his audience wasn’t the taxpayers of Virginia but rather a “welcome home” luncheon for the team whose name shall not be used.

    Each of your questions could be turned around to ask if a stadium was built in Virginia rather than Maryland or DC if it would yield much or any incremental to the incredibly offensively named NFL franchise but the people who he was pitching to don’t really care about the economic or fiscal health of Virginia.

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