Courtesy of the Wilmington Watcher blog, reports have surfaced that city and county elected officials are seriously considering raising taxes to fund a minor-league baseball stadium.
WECT is reporting that an email they uncovered reveals that city and county officials have been courting a minor league baseball team conglomerate, Mandalay Entertainment for at least a couple of months now.
Rumblings have abound over the last few years about the idea that something like this could eventually come to fruition, but no direct answers or evidence to anything of substance has ever been confirmed or released by the city and/or the county. In fact, when asked directly recently, several local leaders have given vague responses that merely indicate that no official proposals exist, and that there is no concrete facts to support anything like this being promoted. However, emails uncovered by WECT tell a different story.
WECT reports an email from City Councilwoman Kristi Campos to County Commissioner Jason Thompson asks how the city and county can work together to get underway with the plans to build the stadium, a requirement for Mandalay to bring a minor league team here.
The secrecy surrounding these negotiations, and the lack of media coverage on the subject exist for a very specific reason. The stadium would have to be funded with taxpayer money, in the current poor economy. As if that wasn’t enough, officials are even stating at this point that the stadium would not be a financial generator, but a drain on the taxpayer.
Wilmington taxpayers were already recently forced to subsidize a convention center projected to lose money, but local leaders have their eyes on the next shiny (and expensive) toy in the form of a new baseball stadium.
Taxpayers across the country have been forced to subsidize massive sports stadiums, essentially bailing out billionaire owners of sports teams not willing to foot the bill themselves.
If building a minor-league ballpark in Wilmington is such a winning idea, then private investors will line up to support it. But politicians are too eager to spend other people’s money in an attempt to win votes by saying “see – look at that nifty new ballpark we had built, I can get things done!”
The bottom line difference comes down to voluntary cooperation versus the use of force. Should convention centers and ballparks be financed by funders voluntarily supporting their construction, or should politicians use government force to coerce taxpayers into handing over their money for them?