Have you ever noticed that just about every story in SARJ (Sheldon Adelson Review-Journal, pronounced sarge) about the proposed new Las Vegas domed football stadium has a line similar to this one today: “The Adelsons would cover any cost overruns.”?
Lawmakers are meeting in a special session in Carson City this week to vote on whether to raise room taxes in Las Vegas to help fund such a stadium.
The stories never say what would happen if there were a cost underrun. Remember, this stadium started as a mere $1 billion project but has blossomed to $1.9 billion — the storyline is that public tax money via a room tax would cover $750 million of the cost, while the Adelson family would cover $650 million and the NFL and the Raiders would cover $500 million.
So why is it that the stadium backers absolutely refused to consider a codicil to the agreement that would cap the public money portion at 39 percent, calling that a deal killer? Also, anything less than $750 million from the public trough is a deal killer?
Could it be that the cost projection is so inflated that if, for example, the stadium cost only $1.5 billion, the Adelsons would save themselves $400 million?
Then there are the ludicrous projections that a new stadium will draw more than 800,000 people annually and generate $620 million in annual economic activity. Both numbers are snatched out of thin air and are written in smoke, reflected in mirrors. Besides, stadium spending adds nothing to the economy. It is disposable entertainment dollars, which are simply diverted from other possible spending, such as dining out, gambling, movies, concerts. Every dollar in the stadium pocket is a dollar less in some other pocket.