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January 14, 2009
Yanks stadium cost passes $2B, subsidies near $1b
Today's New York state assembly hearing on the Yankees and Mets stadium projects can best be summed up like this: City economic chief Seth Pinsky complained about hearing chair Richard Brodsky calling the city's procedures "Soviet-style," then later quoted Edward R. Murrow to implicitly compare Brodsky to Joe McCarthy; and Brodsky, in his closing statements, offered to take on both Pinsky and Yanks president Randy Levine in a fistfight. Not, in other words, one of democracy's finest moments.
The real story, in any case, came after Levine, Pinsky, and almost everyone else had gone home: Economist George Sweeting of the Independent Budget Office presented new detailed estimates of how much the new stadiums are costing taxpayers in subsidies, and how much the teams are benefiting. I'll be updating my stadium cost spreadsheet with the new numbers shortly, but in the meantime, some highlights: The total cost of the Yanks' new stadium is now well north of $2 billion, with taxpayers picking up $854.7 million of that tab; for the Mets, the cost to the public is now a mere $371.5 million. And that's without even counting the fact that neither team will pay property taxes, ever, thanks to a nifty tax dodge involving public authorities and 99-year subleases.