Over this past weekend the press was full of stories about how bad the previous week had been for President Obama. If it was “bad” for the president, it was awful for Virginia.
Virginia’s media went gaga over the announcement by our very own Governor Bob, who is great at extolling the virtues of the free market, that he had managed to keep the Washington Deadskins in Northern Virginia, with a helping of cash from the public treasury. The team would also move its three-week summer training camp to an “unspecified location” in Richmond , with a supplemental infusion of funds from the coffers of the cash-strapped City of Richmond.
Another story that was reported with much less fanfare last week was that the transit authority in Richmond, the GRTC, is decreasing the level of service and raising fares on buses that serve Chesterfield county because of a cut in subsidies. This is the area of central Virginia that soon will be home to two new Amazon Corporation distribution centers.
The Redskins are one of the most valuable franchises in the world of sport, rivaling the Manchester United soccer team as well as the New York Yankees. The Redskin’s owner is a multi-billionaire. The bus serves workers who didn’t appear to be lining up to take their Hampton Jitneys to their summer homes in Sag Harbor, Long Island. They were poor people trying to make it to the next pay check.
The Governor’s agenda, joined by Mayor Jones, is not only morally repugnant but terrible public policy. Virtually no unbiased academic research shows that public subsidy of athletic facilities leads to significant economic benefits for the taxpayer (check the website for the National Bureau of Economic Research). In recent history the Republican Board of Supervisors of Chesterfield County showered SportsQuest (an athletic and recreation complex) with Santa’s bag of financial goodies at taxpayer expense. The project is now bankrupt.
As all good Republicans should know, let the market allocate capital.
– D. Leslie Schreiber