I'm Shocked! Shocked!
The cost of building a baseball stadium and renovating Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium could be $91 million more than city officials initially estimated, according to an analysis released last night by the District's chief financial officer.
In an eight-page letter to D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), Natwar M. Gandhi said the total cost of the stadium package could reach $486.2 million, not the $395 million stated in the agreement between the District and Major League Baseball.
This is nothing new. I'm too lazy to do the research, but I'd be amazed if any stadium came close to its initial cost estimate.
Gandhi estimated that the city would need to collect $2 million a year more in gross-receipts taxes on the city's largest businesses to pay the debt service.
"This just looks like a continuous spiraling upward with no end in sight," said council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), who opposes using public money for the stadium. "It would be fiscally irresponsible for the council to approve the plan."
But city officials disputed much of Gandhi's analysis. For
example, they said that renovations to Metro are not necessary and, even if they were, could be paid for partly by Virginia and Maryland, whose residents would be attending games.
Furthermore, the officials said, they had built into
their financing plan the ability to issue up to $500 million in bonds without changes to the gross-receipts tax.
When it comes to stadium financing, the best advice is to hold your nose and swallow.