We’ve been saying it here for some time, so today I will be even less subtle about it.
The Falcons have been playing a shell game with the public with regards to who is paying for this new stadium, and much of Atlanta’s media and Georgia’s government officials and agencies have gone along with it.
It’s time to call this out as what it is - a deliberate misrepresentation of who will be paying what. Taxpayers will pay a lot more than the $200 Million dollar talking point pushed by Blank and codified by all others who repeat it without regard to the actual facts. How much more? Try up to $900 Million (plus land costs, plus infrastructure over $50 Million, plus waiver of sales tax on construction materials). From the AJC:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday that principal and interest payments could total almost $450 million over 30 years and that, according to one projection, another $450 million could go to the stadium over the years for operations and expenses. All of the money would come from the 39.3 percent of Atlanta’s 7-cents-per-dollar hotel-motel tax that is mandated by state law to go to the stadium project.
In light of those numbers, council member Aaron Watson said he would no longer characterize the public contribution to the project as only the $200 milliontoward upfront construction.
“I, for one, haven’t heard much discussion of what the entire amount is going to be over the next 30 years,” Watson said. He added he “had taken some comfort” in the $200 million figure but “had been nervous the number was actually more.”
Before this deal is done, it is important that all sides come clean. First, when anyone mentions cost, they must drop this complete mis-direction of talking about the bonds that will be financed by tax dollars.
What taxpayers will be paying will be 39.3 percent of the 7% tax added to every hotel bill until the year 2050. Whether the construction costs are financed by the State, the City of Atlanta, the GWCC, or the Falcons, the taxpayers ARE ACTUALLY PAYING 39.3% of 7% for 37 more years. Those funds are dedicated by law, and are not changed by the terms of this deal. AND taxpayers are paying for land. AND taxpayers will likely be paying for infrastructure in amounts that will exceed $50 Million. AND taxpayers will be waiving sales tax on materials used in construction of this project.
Whether you support the merit of this project or not, there is no way anyone can in good conscience support a continued misrepresentation in the difference of what taxpayers are financing versus what taxpayers are paying.
And kudos to the AJC for finally reporting numbers closer to the reality of what taxpayers will be giving up for this monument to ego and personal power.