Salt Lake County thought it was a bad idea. Maybe the Utah State Legislature has a new-and-improved crystal ball. But any way you look at it, the way the Real soccer stadium is being approached is a huge mistake. Well, maybe not--a whole bunch of pretty boys got a new soccer jersey and a way cool photo op.
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and the county council could see that it was not a good idea. He says "that the State may have a higher risk tolerance than Salt Lake County." Apparently.
Sometimes when I get really ticked off about something, it's because I'm wrong. So maybe this time I'm just wrong, but it really irritates me that the Utah Legislature is throwing $35 million at a soccer stadium that will not be able to service its debt payments. I guess it's okay, though, because Dave Checketts has 'pledged' $7.5 million toward a youth sports complex in Salt Lake.
Governor Huntsman said of this less-than-momentous occasion:
I think we need to show there is a level of collaboration between public and private here," he said. "There isn't a single facility in the country that is of this size that has been done without this kind of public-private partnership.
Governor..."in the country"? How about in the state? How about in the city that you were standing in when you made the statement? Larry H. Miller received NO public funding for his $80 million motor sports park in Tooele, and five years remains to pay off the $20 million in Redevelopment Agency funds he received to finance the Delta Center. Dave Checketts, on the other hand, is not on the hook for even a dime of his $35 million. I think, though, that I heard him also 'pledge' to pay $10 million if Real left Salt Lake before 30 years from now.
At least one of the members of the Utah house has it right:
Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, said using hotel room taxes paid by visitors sends the wrong message about the state's tourism industry.
"What are we telling those travelers? Thank you for visiting us, thank you for letting us gouge you and now we're going to build a soccer stadium with your money," he said. "If this is such a great idea, why aren't the banks involved in this? Why do they have to come to the taxpayers to help this out?"
I guess it's probably a bad thing to hope that it fails, because it's Utah's economy and it's my tax money. But let's just say I'm very frustrated. Because this is not the way government is supposed to act.