Testifying Their Yankee Stadium Love

Two New York critics of the taxpayer-subsidized Yankee Stadium have been invited by Congressman (and presidential hopeful) Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, to appear before a House subcommittee on Thursday in Washington, D.C. The panel will hear testimony from Save Our Parks member Joyce Hogi and Village Voice writer Neil deMause. It’s an oversight hearing, which means there is no pending legislation.

The hearing is called: “Build It and They Will Come: Do Tax Payer-Financed Sports Stadiums, Convention Centers and Hotels Deliver as Promised for America’s Cities?”

Maybe not the catchiest campaign slogan, but Mr. Kucinich may end up picking up a few votes in the Bronx nonetheless.

The full media advisory is after the jump.

- Matthew Schuerman

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
For Immediate Release:

Media Advisory

“Build It and They Will Come: Do Taxpayer-Financed Sports Stadiums, Convention Centers and Hotels Deliver as Promised for America’s Cities?”

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Room 2247 Rayburn

10:30 a.m.

Domestic Policy Subcommittee,

Oversight and Government Reform Committee

This hearing will examine the promises of economic prosperity that are made to cities which finance professional sports stadiums, convention centers and hotels.

The public justification for this use of public funds, including construction financing with tax exempt bonds, is that this is an investment that brings jobs and consumers to a city’s downtown. Similarly, proponents for taxpayer financing of convention centers and hotels frequently argue that those projects are contributors to the revitalization of cities.

Academic research on the value to economic development, however, has universally concluded that sports stadiums, convention centers and hotels do not create an increase in economic activity in the city which financed the construction.

In 2006, the IRS issued a private ruling that enabled the New York Yankees to receive tax exempt financing for the construction of a new stadium. Later, the IRS revamped its regulations to permit many more sports stadiums to receive tax exempt financing.

This is the second hearing in a series Kucinich plans to hold looking at various issues afflicting urban America.

Witnesses for the hearing include:
Panel I
Ms. Joyce Hogi — a widow and resident of the South Bronx, New York. Ms. Hogi’s apartment overlooks the construction sight where a new parking lot is being built for Yankees’ stadium. The parking lot was formerly a Macombs Dam public park.

Mr. Frank Rashid — waged an unsuccessful 10-year campaign to save Tigers’ Stadium in Detroit.

Mr. Nick Licata — Seattle City Council president. Mr. Licata will discuss his successful attempt to fight a new arena being built in his city for the Seattle Supersonics.

Panel II
Mr. Neil deMause – author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit.

Dr. Brad Humphreys — Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Heywood Sanders — a professor of public policy at the University of Texas at San Antonio and an expert of convention center expansion.

Mr. Dennis Zimmerman — Director of Projects at the American Tax Policy Institute. Mr. Zimmerman is a former Congressional Research Service analyst and Congressional Budget Office analyst whose expertise is in the use of tax exempt bonds and the economics of professional sports stadiums.

Mr. Bob Murphy, President, Dayton Dragons, Dayton, OH. The Dayton Dragons are a Class A minor league baseball team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.

Mr. Micah Green, co-CEO, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, Washington, D.C. Mr. Green heads the merger of the Securities Industry Association and the Bond Market Association. The Association represents the interests of more than 650 securities firms, banks and asset managers.

Panel III
Mr. Donald Korb — chief counsel of the International Revenue Service. Mr. Korb will be discussing a December rule change that enabled tax exempt bonds to be used in the construction of the new Yankees’ stadium.

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