Who’s Picking Up The Tabs?
Recent reports have said the Buffalo Bills will be getting a new stadium, with a projected opening date in 2026. The new crib will be just a short distance from the existing stadium that’s now the Home of the Bills. The cost of the stadium was originally estimated to be $1.4 million, with $550 million of that cost to be shared by the NFL and the owners of the Bills, and the balance to be paid by state funding, a.k.a. the taxpayers of the state of New York.
There had also been hopes divulged by a candidate running for the Governorship of New York, that he/she wanted to fund state healthcare facilities with over a billion dollars for more staffs, bigger hospitals to be able to accommodate more patients, etc.
During the pandemic at its height, the government assisted people through the stimulus checks that were sent to those who qualified. That amounted to approximately $3.5 trillion of the Congress approved $4.5 trillion that has been given out so far.
My first question, after all of this supposed generosity of the government that has been, or will be finalized is, in whose basement is the printing press in that is inking out all this publically advertised “free money?”
Let’s go back to the Bills’ stadium proposal. First of all, how is the cost to the NFL and owners so much lower than that of public funding? The NFL can take $1.4 billion out of their left pocket and cover the cost of building that stadium, without having to put the other hand in its right pocket. Also, with the money each team owner receives in television contracts revenues, ticket prices, parking fees, concessions, merchandise, and everything else they promote which costs the fans money, and considering all the money they have already to cover the ridiculous salaries that they’re paying free agents, and the bonus money they give out, even with salary restrictions, it would seem they (owners), too, can use the “chump change” in their left pocket to cover the cost of the stadium being proposed. Then, let’s talk about getting bang for your buck. An exclusive outdoor stadium is used for Professional Football a possible 11 times for home games (possible 9 regular season and 2 pre-season games.) The stadium could also be used for outdoor concerts in the summer, or some high school playoff games scheduled in certain cities, but it’s fair to estimate the use of a football stadium in an average year to be anywhere from 11 to maybe 20 times tops per year. Not a lot of use for the $1.4 billion cost to build the outdoor arena. Retractable roof stadia are much more feasible for many sports, allowing for many more uses, the elimination of rainouts in baseball, and more comfort for fans in those cold wintery cities of the north and northeast. And remember, $8.5 million (later projected to be upwards of $1.1 billion) of that cost is coming from Joe Public’s pockets (BTW, we’re the chumps in the above description of “chump change”), as that’s the generic name for what’s referred to as public funding, used hoping that some people will actually buy into the idea that the government itself is picking up the tab.
The same goes for the publically funded building of medical facilities, or expansions or improvements of existing ones. If you really want to know where that money comes from, stand in front of a full length mirror and see sports’ owners/executives, and company CEOs, government officials standing behind you with each of their hands in each of your pockets. There you’ll see the real funder of these huge facility proposals designed to line the pockets of team owners, major sports’ leagues, insurance companies, or allow the government to grant money toward building college facilities, high school facilities, community arenas and stadia, medical facilities, public buildings, and pandemic assistance under the guise of their giving away free money. Too many proposals come with the large print saying that certain projects will only cost taxpayers 2 to 3 percent, and the government will fund the rest. The small print reminds us that we fund the government, as last I knew, the government gets its money from pockets of taxpayers, so go back to the mirror and see whose hands are really in our pockets.
If all these proposed changes come to fruition in New York State, or nationally, expect the ticket prices, cost of parking, costs of concessions, team jerseys, or other souvenirs, to go up considerably. Also, figure the cost of health insurance and/or medical costs to rise hugely, and our federal taxes to grow to new heights. And to answer the question posed in the title above, if you guessed “us,” Congratulations, you win!