As a Cobb County resident, I’m frustrated at the announcement that my property tax dollars might be used to subsidize a private company (i.e., Atlanta Braves’ owners, Liberty Media) owned by billionaires (e.g., controlling shareholder, John Malone).
As you know, Cobb has dramatically and painfully reduced services to its own citizens in response to the recession. Fire departments have faced cuts. Police departments have faced cuts. Libraries, senior centers, bus services, courts, and on and on.
My understanding is that Cobb officials plan on diverting approximately $8 million in existing property taxes each year (plus approximately $1 million in existing hotel taxes each year) to pay the debt incurred to build this stadium with no plan to raise taxes? That, of course, means that it will have to cut an additional $9 million in services to Cobb citizens.
Of course, it will take 30 years to pay back the debt incurred to build the stadium. Given recent history, the likelihood of the Braves remaining in the stadium for that long is almost nil. Adding insult to injury, every article that I could find about the financial benefit of stadiums to the surrounding communities say that the communities never recover their investment.
If fire and police departments have to form foundations to find extra money, then in my opinion, we have no business subsidizing a private concern with our tax dollars. Other stadiums have been built entirely with private dollars (e.g., San Francisco’s baseball stadium and New York’s football stadium), and there’s no reason that Liberty Media can’t do the same.
What has been proposed is a great deal for the Liberty Media and its investors and an awful deal for Cobb and supporting it would be the opposite of fiscal conservatism. I hope (the Cobb Commission) will vote against it.