Calgary mayor counters Flames’ tax-break demand, employs curiously familiar analogy

On Friday morning at 8:29 am Eastern time, I posted this about the Calgary Flames owners’ screwy insistence that money they pay in property taxes should count as their own contribution to a new arena’s construction costs:

In no other walk of life would anybody count the taxes that everybody has to pay as a capital cost — it’d be a bit like going to a car dealer and saying, “Sure, you’re knocking almost 50% off the sticker price, but what about all the money I’m going to have to spend on gas, huh?

On Friday afternoon, time undetermined, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said this about the Flames owners’ argument:

“It’s like saying, when you go to buy a car, I want you to knock 33% off the sticker price, but you know what? I’ve got to pay for gas, and insurance, so I’m really paying for that 33% you’re knocking off. Try doing that at your local Ford dealership.”

Okay, sure, great minds and all that. I’m sure it’s just a coincid—

It’s okay, Mayor Nenshi — this time. Do it again, and I’m going to be invoicing you for some of those sweet, sweet Canadian intellectual property royalties. (You can copyright analogies, right? Please don’t shatter my dreams by telling me otherwise.)

In newsier news, Nenshi spelled out that he didn’t think funding an arena with incremental property taxes in the surrounding area, as the Flames owners proposed for repaying the city’s share, would work — $150 million in new property taxes are already allocated to other traffic and infrastructure projects based on development the city is getting with or without an arena, and to raise another $225 million as team execs suggest would require “a heck of a lot more development than we are forecasting.” And he promised to leave the door open to further arena negotiations, saying:

“As long as I’m the mayor, we will not leave that table. These negotiations are hard. Guess what — they should be hard. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. And I believe, you don’t have a temper tantrum, you don’t run away. You sit down and you figure out the right way to do it.”

Oh snap, temper tantrum. Wish I’d said that one.

8 comments on “Calgary mayor counters Flames’ tax-break demand, employs curiously familiar analogy

  1. Canada is not a free country, so intellectual property royalties will be more difficult to recover than in a free country like the United States of America.

    • Would US residents really demand IP royalties when you have both federal and state programs to provide welfare to billionaires?

  2. This is why the general public appreciates Nenshi. He is not always right, but he does seem to be the one person you can count on to be the adult in the room when dealing with others.

    Ken King doesn’t have that.

  3. So cool that I broke that for you. I was hours ahead of anyone else on that scoop.

    Forget accounting I’m becoming a sports journalist! My wife will be so proud!

  4. ‘We’re not in politics’: Calgary Flames president says arena talk not aimed at influencing election