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Day 15 - Corroon makes right call

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon made the right call today by rejecting Real Salt Lake's request for taxpayer subsidies for a soccer stadium. Proponents of the taxpayer-subsidized stadium have wrongly argued that these subsidies make economic sense.

- Most of the economic activity that would have occurred at or around the stadium would have been locally-driven retail and entertainment which will occur on its own in some form somewhere in Utah without subsidies from taxpayers.

- Long-term economic growth depends on investment in export-oriented industries -- such as IT, manufacturing, natural resources -- and industries that improve productivity, such as IT and telecommunications. In a global economy, successful economies focus on production, not locally-driven consumption such as retail, recreation, and entertainment.

Besides, we already have Rice-Eccles Stadium, The E-Center, USANA Amphitheatre, and the EnergySolutions Center. It looks like we’ve got the venue situation covered fairly well right now.

According to arguments used by supporters of stadium subsidies, virtually every new business would be entitled to some sort of taxpayer subsidy, including those with unrealistic business plans.

Subsidy proponents argued that RSL's in-kind contributions justified the subsidies. However, the value to county taxpayers of the in-kind contributions (advertising, free tickets) was overstated. Even though RSL would incur costs and opportunity costs to provide these in-kind benefits, the value to county taxpayers was marginal at best and did not equate to RSL's costs or opportunity costs of providing these "benefits".

To read more about this topic, please click [here] to read our October 17, 2005 edition of Taxing Times. [Note: since this version of Taxing Times was written more than a year ago, some of the numbers have changed. However the arguments have not].

We forgot to mention one other issue.

The proposed stadium for Real would not be used for World Cup qualifying matches because it would be too small. Those games will continue to be played at Rice-Eccles.

An excellent turn of events. I heard on the radio this morning, though, that Real may have their sites set on Utah county...?

Since Corroon has made such a great decision, are you going to give him the tax payer advocate award?

I recall that Ms. Workman was posted on a billboard a few years ago with that distinction. Mr. Corroon has proven himself to be more fiscally conservative than Ms. Workman.

Your organization should recognize this!


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If the franchise is sold and relocated to Utah County and receives no taxpayer subsidy, then everything is OK.

However, we've heard some people argue that the developer should get tax abatements because of the environmental concerns at the old Geneva Steel site (we have not heard this directly from the developer by the way).

We're a little skeptical of the need for taxpayer assistance for this development because the land is in a prime location with easy access to I-15. Just because a parcel of land isn't 100% perfect does not mean that the developer is entitled to tax incentives, especially if outside funds are already available to mitigate the clean up costs.


Thanks for asking. We'll certainly give Mayor Corroon serious consideration.

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