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(Harris County) Sports Authority may need taxpayer rescue - Houston
Houston Chronicle ^ | Oct. 26, 2009, 11:07PM | BRADLEY OLSON

Posted on 10/27/2009 1:14:54 PM PDT by a fool in paradise

Harris County taxpayers may have to inject up to $7 million a year into the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority for the next two years due to a financial crisis sparked by the souring of bonds used to build Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center.

Facing balloon payments on $117 million in variable-rate bonds, the authority now is obliged to pay off the debt in five years instead of 23 years. That would require $24 million a year — a figure that, together with more than $30 million in additional obligations, would push the authority to the brink of insolvency...

To make up the difference, Harris County may have to pick up some of those expenses with property tax revenue, a step that some say indirectly violates stadium boosters' promise that taxpayer dollars would not be used to pay for the new venues...

The Authority's chairman, however, said taxpayers will not be affected.

...Jack Yuran, director of financial planning in Harris County, said he and other officials are trying to come up with a way to free up additional hotel tax funds to make it possible for their use by the sports corporation.

...Numerous county and authority officials insisted that the use of property tax funds to pay for expenses that were covered by money that will now go toward stadium debt does not represent a breach of the promises made to taxpayers...

Former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt... said those claims are misleading.

“It's literally like watching a train go over a hill,” he said. “The heavy engine goes over the hill first, and it pulls the whole train over, all the way to the caboose. Somebody's going to pay at the end of this train, and that's going to be the taxpayers.”

(Excerpt) Read more at chron.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: balloonpayment; bankingcrisis; boondoggle; chasemanhattan; cultureofcorruption; democratscandals; hsa; taxes
So much for the LIE that taxpayers would not be spending a DIME on these stadiums. It's all a shell game.
1 posted on 10/27/2009 1:14:55 PM PDT by a fool in paradise
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To: 1riot1ranger; Action-America; Aggie Mama; Alkhin; Allegra; American72; antivenom; Antoninus II; ...

We’re all Houston Proud!


2 posted on 10/27/2009 1:15:27 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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To: a fool in paradise

People should say SHELL no.

There is no “have to”. Let them find the money without the taxpayers.


3 posted on 10/27/2009 1:17:21 PM PDT by GeronL (http://tyrannysentinel.blogspot.com .... I am a rogue nobody. One of millions.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Can’t any of these worthless, useless, welfare queen sports teams that USE these stadiums pay for them on their own?


4 posted on 10/27/2009 1:18:01 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: a fool in paradise

No No No!!!

Default! Forclose! Sell it! Have the team owners pay for it! Take up a collection!

Whatever... I dont want to pay for it. Bunch a lying idiots.


5 posted on 10/27/2009 1:18:47 PM PDT by Syntyr (Mace, Kirk, Thomson, Griffin, Scusa, Martin, Gallegos, Hart - Remember the fallen of Kamdesh)
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To: a fool in paradise
There is still more owed on the Astrodome then it took to build it.
6 posted on 10/27/2009 1:19:06 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ((B.?) Hussein (Obama?Soetoro?Dunham?) Change America Will Die From.)
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To: a fool in paradise

They’ll be trying to figure out a means of taxing the surrounding counties who enjoy the benefits of professional sports in Houston.


7 posted on 10/27/2009 1:20:47 PM PDT by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: a fool in paradise

Similar story just ran here in Pittsburgh. Built a big new shiny airport that doubles as a mall to serve as the system hub for US Airways. Of course all of that traffic generated by being the US Aiwrays hub would generate plenty of revenue to pay off the bonds......DOH!

Also passed a RAD tax to fund museums and libraries. Then the politicians grabbed away most of the money to build PNC Park and Heinz Field. So they just announced they are closing a bunch of libraries.....DOH!


8 posted on 10/27/2009 1:22:16 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

There is still more owed on the Astrodome then it took to build it.

Three Rivers Stadium cost #30 million to build and was $40 million in hock on the day they imploded it.


9 posted on 10/27/2009 1:23:10 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: pnh102

In Houston the NFL stadium cost $300million dollars. And then Reliant Energy paid $300million dollars for the naming rights... TO THE OWNER OF THE TEAM.

The money is there in the marketplace. Taxpayers are being looted.


10 posted on 10/27/2009 1:26:31 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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To: a fool in paradise; Buckeye McFrog; GeronL
Well, we did one thing right in Columbus...a beautiful venue built with ZERO tax dollars...


11 posted on 10/27/2009 1:28:59 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: The_Victor
I'm in Galveston County and have never set foot on or near any of these taxpayer supported facilities - lies, lies and damned lies
12 posted on 10/27/2009 1:29:36 PM PDT by VRWCTexan (Obama-scare is the "real" Cash for Clunker Program!)
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To: a fool in paradise
Way to go Harris County!

You voted to give hundreds of millions of dollars to billionaires and now you have to cough up the cash.

And then there are the Socialist Morons in Arlington that voted to give hundreds of millions to Jerry Jones.

Stupid People.

13 posted on 10/27/2009 1:37:20 PM PDT by trumandogz (The Democrats are driving us to Socialism at 100 MPH -The GOP is driving us to Socialism at 97.5 MPH)
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To: a fool in paradise

Key words...

“...may have to...”

When this issue broke publically about three weeks ago...I had a great opportunity to discuss this with one of the few conservative city counsel members, who also my counselmember...

What surprised me was that there is apparently no plan in place to address this other than do some fancy funding, (i.e.: using public money to bail this “sports authority” out and get them back on track), to which I thought “hell no”...

I also mentioned how nice it would be to dissolve this sports authority, seeings how we do not need them anymore...

But I recall that they are in deep in trying to get yet another facility built for the stupid soccer team we have now...

Somehow, this is just going to go the way it always does...Against common sense, and we’ll pay for it anyway...


14 posted on 10/27/2009 3:00:26 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (Go ahead, call me a racist...One more time...)
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To: a fool in paradise
Houston has a problem. And no, taxpayers can't bail out the Sports Authority, because the whole city is bankrupt.

Lemer/Farb/Roberts assessment of City of Houston Finances (22 October 2009)

It would be better to create a REIT, dump the Sports Authority and any valuable city property into it, IPO it, and pay of creditors.

15 posted on 10/27/2009 4:26:26 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: a fool in paradise
are trying to come up with a way to free up additional hotel tax funds

Won't affect taxpayers? The diversion of taxes to another purpose doesn't affect taxpayers? These people live in Fantasyland.

16 posted on 10/27/2009 4:47:06 PM PDT by Rocky (OBAMA: Succeeding where bin Laden failed.)
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To: trumandogz

Don’t count me in with the “stupid people”.... I voted no to those friggin stadiums!

Come to think of it, same thing happened to me in the last Presidental election....STUPID PEOPLE voting.... to get stuff ....and I got screwed!


17 posted on 10/27/2009 6:04:18 PM PDT by jackieh
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To: buccaneer81

Didn’t Bank of America buy Nationwide, then the US taxpayer bailed out Bank of America to the tune of 45 Billion. I think the taxpayer is still on the hook.


18 posted on 10/27/2009 6:16:33 PM PDT by reader25
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To: a fool in paradise
"...the authority now is obliged to pay off the debt in five years instead of 23 years. That would require $24 million a year — a figure that, together with more than $30 million in additional obligations, would push the authority to the brink of insolvency..."

And what happens if the authority goes over the brink?

Does it go bankrupt?

Would these white-elephant stadia then be sold to the highest bidders? Perhaps freeing the foolish taxpayers of Harris County from the consequences of their stupidity?

19 posted on 10/27/2009 6:25:19 PM PDT by Redbob (W.W.J.B.D.: "What Would Jack Bauer Do?")
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To: a fool in paradise

Idiots. When will people learn that nothing is free. The taxpayer always ends up paying for these grand schemes.

If the teams want a new stadium, they should pay for it by raising the money themselves. It is not realistic for the local government to use taxpayer dollars to support private sports teams or their stadiums.

If the taxpayer owns these stadiums it time for the teams to pay rent at least equal to the amount it is costing on a per year basis.


20 posted on 10/27/2009 6:31:01 PM PDT by reader25
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To: reader25

Don’t know where you heard that story. It’s not true, to say the least. I have friends who work for Nationwide and the local media is small-townish here. Nationwide built the arena, and has never taken any tax dollars.


21 posted on 10/27/2009 6:33:24 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: stevie_d_64

How much money could we get putting the HSA’s deluxe catered box seats up for sale to raise funds?


22 posted on 10/28/2009 10:55:10 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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To: a fool in paradise

Not enough, but I like your thinking...That sure would take the wind out of their sails though...

Heck I had seats at an Aeros hockey game (last season) next to Cardinal DiNardo...I’d met him a few times in the past at some political functions...

That is one solid guy who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and I’m not even Catholic...

He wouldn’t want luxury box seats from what I can tell...

So for the most part, I believe you have a better time at ballgames if you are out in the crowd...Sure it can get testy sometimes, but you just have to roll with it...


23 posted on 10/28/2009 12:08:39 PM PDT by stevie_d_64 (Go ahead, call me a racist...One more time...)
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To: stevie_d_64

It may not cancel out the debt but there is no reason they should own the largest skybox.


24 posted on 10/28/2009 12:17:10 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (I refuse to "reduce my carbon footprint" all the while Lenin remains in an airconditioned shrine)
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