Naw, we’ll just stick it to the taxpayers.
Woody Hunt is a smart man. He’s studied public corruption. Here’s what he had to say to El Paso Inc. back in 2009, in an article about public corruption:
Too often the service provider is at the front end of the process, arguing that a service is needed, then driving themselves as the solution.
We have to turn that process around and have the political process determine what we need and how we are going to procure it. You’ve got to have a technical staff disconnected from the policymaking that executes that.
Wait a minute. MountainStar Sports Group convinced City government that El Paso needed Triple A ball to spur economic development, and then offered themselves up as the people who could provide a Triple A team. And since they convinced El Paso city government that we needed a ballpark, our population growth has flatlined, and our tax base has begun the long, slow, process of collapsing.
In the four years that the ballpark has been in operation, the City of El Paso has subsidized the operation of the ballpark by more that $2 million dollars from the general fund, and $11 million from the Hotel Occupancy Tax. That’s $13 million that we could have spent on something with positive benefits for El Pasoans.
Imagine if we’d taken that $64 million we originally invested in the ballpark and invested it in El Pasoans instead. The City might not have to jack our property taxes every year.
Wait. I’ve got an idea. Let’s build a $180 million arena, with no anchor tenant, and no possibility of operating without subsidies for the rest of our lives.
Genius. Pure genius.