Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Buying the Election only if He Wins

In 1898, the City of New York was formed from five counties, to wit, Richmond, Bronx, New York (Manhattan) Queens and Kings (Brooklyn). The eastern towns in Queens were loath to go along with the deal, so, following approval by the New York State Legislature, they broke off and became Nassau County.

Today, Nassau County is one of the wealthiest in the United States. It is also one of the most inefficiently run. So inefficiently, that in 2000, the New York State Legislature, itself no paragon of governmental efficiency, created the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority ("NIFA") as a nanny to oversee the County. NIFA has activated its nanny role by declaring a "control period," and now, the County government needs NIFA's approval when it decides how many sheets of toilet paper to tear off to wipe its toochas.

Nassau County owns a structure known as the Nassau Coliseum, which is, among other things, the home ice rink of the New York Islanders, and also a venue for various entertainment events and shows. But the Coliseum has, since its opening in 1972, deteriorated. There is no serious question that a complete rebuild would be more cost-effective than a massive large scale repair.

Charles Wang, the owner of the Islanders, has threatened to move the Islanders away from Long Island unless the Coliseum is rebuilt.

So now, the County proposes to float bonds for $200 Million to finance not only a new Coliseum, but also a major league ballpark. Such a bond issue must be approved by the voters, and also by NIFA. The electoral process for the vote would cost somewhere between $800,000 and $1,200,000.

Wang has said that he would reimburse the County for the cost of the election -- provided that the bond issue is approved by the voters.

I believe that the whole system of professional athletics is bass-ackward. I do not per se oppose professional athletics, but do not believe that the taxpayers should subsidize the business. This is particularly so in Nassau County, whose government has already demonstrated its fiscal incompetence.

Moreover, athletics at the high school level has similarly gotten to be too much of a burden on the taxpaying populace [Disclosure: I was a varsity letterman in high school.].

If the purpose of organized athletics at the high school level is to develop character of the athletes, then the high school teams do not need all of the expensive high end accoutrements which have become the norm. If, on the other hand, the purpose of organized athletics at the high school level is to develop professional athletes, then the big league professional athletes should subsidize the high schools' athletic budgets.

Meanwhile, Mr. Wang's conditional offer is, in my book, the equivalent of tendering a bribe.

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