Ralph Nader, League of Fans Praise New Jersey Governor James McGreevey for Ruling Out New Subsidies for Nets and Devils


Today, Ralph Nader and the sports industry watchdog League of Fans sent a letter to New Jersey Governor James McGreevey praising his August 26 announcement that there will be no new state subsidies for current or future owners of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. In the face of a $5 billion state budget deficit, the owners of the two teams and their potential buyers, have been actively seeking public subsidies for a new arena in downtown Newark and have threatened to move across the Hudson River to New York City if New Jersey refuses to pay for most of the cost. The letter follows:

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The Honorable James E. McGreevey
Governor of New Jersey
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Dear Governor McGreevey:

We would like to commend you for your courage and leadership in ruling out any new state subsidies for current or future owners of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils.

It is encouraging to know that there is a principled Governor who refuses to broadside citizens by dropping the burden of increasing profits for wealthy team owners on the backs of taxpayers. Too often, that is not the case. Following more than a decade of irresponsible choices by elected state and city leaders across the country regarding the allocation of taxpayer subsidies where there are sports owners concerned, the deficiencies in funding for pressing real life needs have worsened.

As you are aware, despite the economic boom of the 90's, we witnessed how the public assets of our states and cities were neglected and left to fail while the profits of the economy overwhelmingly reached those at the top. This was due in no small part to an attitude in state and local government that was reflected in the flood of sweetheart deals our elected leaders provided for sports franchise owners. All the while strapping our state and local governments with large amounts of debt and neglected public works, government officials fattened the wallets of team owners by building them new stadiums and arenas, giving them all revenues generated in and around those facilities, and providing them with tax breaks that no average citizen enjoys.

Now in a period of fiscal uncertainty and in the face of threats that the Nets and Devils could move to New York, you have come forward to proclaim that "There is simply no justification for state dollars being used to guarantee the profits of team owners. . . . in New Jersey, those days are over."

Gov. McGreevey, other elected leaders should follow your example and remember that their first duty is to the people they represent, not to super-wealthy sports moguls or their phony contention that public subsidies are needed for their teams to compete. Please hold to this conviction and see leagueoffans.org for more information about taxpayer-subsidized stadiums and arenas.

Sincerely,

Ralph Nader

Shawn McCarthy
League of Fans

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New Jersey Governor Rules Out Subsidies

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Ralph Nader's letter to the editor praising New Jersey Governor's stand against corporate welfare for greedy sports owners (2/15/04)

League of Fans
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036