Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Financially Speaking

Meanwhile, over in the Land of Zell, ex-Governor Thompson says that a state offer to purchase Wrigley Field could happen soon:

Wrigley Field could get a face-lift worth $350 million to $400 million if it is purchased by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, former Gov. James Thompson, chairman of the authority, estimated Tuesday.

"We have had our engineers start to go through Wrigley Field to give at least a rough estimate of what it would cost to bring it up to par," said Thompson, who also confirmed that the authority will approach Tribune Co., owner of the Cubs and the ballpark, with a purchase offer within a week or two.

But, it's not going to be free. What they want to do is charge the team rent, use the funds from a naming rights sale, and keep all sales taxes generated by the ballpark to pay for the cost of renovations. Those sales taxes are taken from the Cubs and spent on local services. If the state sequesters those funds for Wrigley Field, existing services will need revenue from other sources to replace that used for the bonds.

There is no way this is free.

But let's look at the actual transaction. Basically the state wants to use money already available to the Cubs (naming rights and themoney they'd need to come up with to cover rent) and throw in sales tax revenues to pay for the renovations.

Why not just give the Cubs a 30 year tax break on sales tax and let the team continue to own the park themselves?

Oh yeah. Sales taxes are not a happy topic in Stroegerland right now.

It gets worse and worse and worse and...

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