|Pictured above: a really, really bad investment. (Getty Images)|
Public financing of sports facilities has always been a terrible idea, but in Miami that terrible idea has reached new depths. Mike Ozanian of Forbes sums up the fiscal superfund site that is Marlins Park:
For starters, the stadium's financing scheme means there will be some $3 billion in interest expenses on the construction loans that will be paid by city and county taxpayers. Worse for taxpayers there is no incentive for Loria to put a good team on the field because the city and county must pay the bondholders regardless of how the team performs. Moreover, a small but quirky part of the bond financing has turned a $91 million loan into a $1.2 billion liability for taxpayers. And to add insult to injury the Marlins are nickel-and-diming taxpayers over capital repair costs.
Yep: $91 million loan, $1.2 billion repayment obligation. As The Miami Herald notes, that's a function of the high interest rates on the loan. That's a lot of debt for a county that's already under budgetary pressures.
Keep in mind that the idea of funding the Marlins' baseball-only stadium with tax dollars was never put to a public referendum. So not only is it a boondoggle of absurd proportions, it's also a boondoggle of absurd proportions that was forced upon an unwilling public. Also keep in mind the Marlins have plenty of money with which to pay for their own place of business.
As ever, when the news concerns the loathsome Jeff Loria, the news is never good. The only potential upside is that this utter disgrace of a situation may finally serve as a warning to other local leaders: never, ever pony up for a sports facility.
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