Voters in Nassau County, New York shot down a ballot initiative to build a new hockey arena for the New York Islanders by a whopping margin, 57 percent to 43 percent. See “Voters Nix $400 Million Hockey Tix.” Publicly-financed stadiums and arenas are rarely a good deal for local taxpayers. The proposed new arena in Nassau County was no exception. Debt service on the bond to build the arena was projected to be $26 million a year. On the other hand, the county’s income from the arena was expected to only be $14 million. Job estimates and economic impact numbers are typically grossly exaggerated on proposed stadium and arena projects.
Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders, and Nassau County executive Edward Mangano, were seeking a four percent tax increase to build the new arena at a time of economic struggles for the county. Budgets for local school districts have been cut and Long Island bus service may be next. See “Where Many Things Besides the Islanders Need Fixing.” As it turns out, a taxpayer-built arena was far down the list of priorities for Nassau County citizens.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.