Oversight Warranted on Stadium Project

Published July 16, 2009

Re the July 12 editorial Jaw-dropping Marlins stadium deal: Kudos to The Miami Herald for calling out the problems with the Marlins stadium deal — even as the price tag climbs to $2.4 billion before ground has been struck. Such corporate welfare and outright fleecing of taxpayers for the sake of building an already-over-budget baseball stadium is especially dangerous during these foul economic times.

Increasing the tax burden on tourism, a key industry for the Miami area, absolutely will hurt the local economy. While local officials and taxpayers might believe that residents will not have to bear these tax burdens, they are sorely mistaken. Increased hotel taxes result in reduced demand for hotel rooms, which means fewer jobs and a weakened overall business climate.

There is near-unanimous agreement among economists that subsidizing stadiums and convention centers is bad public policy. Yet governments continue to shovel tax dollars into these high-profile, low-return projects. As The Miami Herald suggests, proper oversight and transparency of the process is a must.

JOHN NOTHDURFT, legislative specialist, The Heartland Institute, Chicago 

This letter to the editor was originally published in The Miami Herald.