Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tube City Almanac: March of the Penguins

Tube City Almanac: March of the Penguins I'm sure glad that this arena is being built at no expense to the taxpayers. Well, except for:

* $10.5 million in cash the state is paying the Penguins 'in recognition of delays the team suffered while it was negotiating for a new arena,' and,

* $7.5 million for the next 30 years that the state will contribute from its economic development fund, and of course, the

* $290 million bond issue that's being underwritten by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Other than that, yes, there's no taxpayer money involved!

. . .

Auditing Dep’t.: If you live in the country, where you rely on the state police, you may be interested to know that $7.5 million per year would pay the salaries (not including benefits) of 150 new troopers.

If you live in the city, where you or your neighbors rely on public transportation, $7.5 million per year would make up more than 10 percent of Port Authority's projected budget shortfall.

You may say that the $7.5 million is coming from gambling revenues, so it isn't really tax money. But I thought that we legalized slot machines to reduce property taxes in the state. Did I miss the part where it said, 'reduce property taxes, or maybe build an ice rink for Canadian and Russian millionaires'?

2 comments:

jim in bloomfield said...

Mark,
A couple of points....
The 7.5M is the state's yearly payment on the $290 bond issue, not a seaparate contribution.
And the money is taxpayer money; it is coming from a 5% tax on the casino revenue. If you don't want your tax money going to the new arena, don't put your nickels in the slot machines.
From the beginning, 5% of the casino revenue is earmarked for the Economic Development and Tourism Fund; 34% for Property tax relief, 12% for the horse racing industry.
That's a 51% tax on the gross revenue of every slot machine.
Only the people that choose tolay slots will be paying this tax; the rest can enjoy a circus, concert, or truck pull at the new arena, and pay less property taxes.
Sure, that $7.5 million mihht be better spent on roads, bridges, schools, police, but the slots law (Act 71 of 2004) doen't allow it.

Mark Rauterkus said...

The circus, concert and truck pull can't occur at the existing Civic Arena, a building that is already paid for. Hence, the overhead for all those other events is going to be higher. The Pens keep that money too -- so less for the Shriners as well.

Did you see what the Allegheny Institute published on this issue?