Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Big Stein Screws NYC Again

New York City is getting a new Yankee Stadium, but the city is paying Yankee owner George Steinbrenner beau coup millions to allow it to sit in their municipality. According to Jim Hightower in the latest edition of the Texas Observer, the New York City Council has authorized New Yorkers to pay $400 million toward the new stadium, and they are giving Big Stein an exemption from paying real estate taxes on the new development. As if that were not downside enough, the new stadium will have 7,000 fewer seats than the old one and it will have triple the number of luxury suites (going for about $500,000 a piece). Looks like middle-income Yankee fans are out of luck. The agreement will allow Steinbrenner to continue screw Major League Baseball's smaller market teams, too, as he will have more disposable income to pay baseball's luxury tax on teams that surpass the $80 million ceiling on player salaries.

Now I haven't factored in the differences in the costs of living, but having a minor league team in a new downtown stadium in Nashville at minimal cost to taxpayers looks like a pretty good deal compared to what NYC is getting, even with the incomparable Yankee mystique. (A side note to council member and ballpark agreement opponent David Briley: your idea of pursuing the Steiner Liff property one the East Bank later instead of settling on the old Thermal site last spring looks increasingly unrealistic).

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