The Worcester city council gave preliminary approval yesterday to a $70 million city subsidy for a Red Sox Triple-A baseball stadium, and let’s take a look at some of the quotes that elected officials are most likely to end up embarrassed about if this whole plan crashes and burns, as most economists expect it will:
“This is really about a proud moment for our city, a historic moment for our city,” City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson said, before giving the council a pat on the back for pushing for the ballpark plan in the first place last year. “We should really take a bow here.”
An excellent start! Can anyone top that?
“My support is a resounding yes,” Councilor Gary Rosen said, adding he considers surrounding development that’s expected to accompany the stadium critical to how it’ll help the city not only break even on its investment but reap new revenue, according to city projections.
“You can’t beat that,” Rosen said. “The stadium will pay for itself.”
Even the economist you hired to devise the stadium deal doesn’t think that’s how it will work! (And he thinks that this “point has come across really well,” which he might want to now reassess.)
“We’re not going to stop doing other important things we already are doing, including education,” [City Manager Edward] Augustus said. “I see this project as an opportunity to help pay for those other projects. I see this as an opportunity for us to keep growing the pie.”
That’s what Cobb County said.
It is always possible that Worcester will be the exception to the rule, and so much new development will pour in strictly as a result of the stadium that it will create a windfall of new tax money — and even that that new tax money won’t immediately need to be spent on new schools and other services for all the people living in that new development but not paying property taxes to the general fund because that money was spent on the stadium. But I think I’ll be setting a Google Calendar reminder for five years from now called “Point and laugh at Worcester city officials,” just in case.