The Washington Nationals are asking our taxpayers to build them a stadium that they are not willing to invest in themselves for 15 Spring Training games per year.
The ownership of the Washington Nationals has a net worth of over $4 billion dollars and they should not be asking the Osceola County Taxpayers to pay for their stadium. The Nationals organization also generates an operating profit of over $40 million dollars per year.
The Nationals are asking the Country Commissioners to sacrifice and delay investments in our roads and other public services that will benefit all citizens to support billionaires who not only want us to pay for the stadium, but will also charge us admission and parking fees to enter it!
Most importantly, there are no guarantees of any return on investment to the taxpayers for footing the $221 million cost of this complex over 30 years and taking on a significant amount of debt. A Spring Training facility is not a tourism generator for our County and will hurt the largest industry in our local economy. There is sginificant risk and opportunity costs to all of us.
By the way, taxpayers recently invested $18 million in updating Astros stadium. We should use or update our existing Spring Training stadium instead of building another to replace it.
The County Commissioners will be voting on this issue on this Monday, August 19th at 5:30pm. PLEASE ATTEND. WE NEED EVERYONE'S SUPPORT!
There are investment alternatives that will yield a better return on investment and whose owners are willing to put "skin in the game". Let's take time to assess all of our future options and opportunities. The structure of this proposal should be considered the poster-child for "Corporate Welfare".
This latest proposal calls for another tax on the tickets sold. That doesn't sound like the kind of partnership we were looking for from the Nationals. It's not a "major change" and is a shell game. This "new tax" is insulting!
Finally, we do have an existing facility in Osceola County Stadium where the Houston Astros play. This facility underwent an $18.4 million renovation in 2003-2004. A smaller, more reasonable investment into this existing facility would be the smart and fiscally-responsible decision for the taxpayers of the Osceola County and preserve financial flexibility for Sales & Marketing initiatives and other investments that could be much more rewarding. In addition, important projects that benefit public safety like road improvements of Poinciana Blvd. and Old Tampa Highway can still be done with the $29.3 million of General Fund dollars that are preserved by not proceeding with this new stadium complex.