The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Spending Money You Do Not Have 101

You know, with Fairfax County projecting a $58-fricking-million-dollar budget shortfall next year, one would have thought that the mere mention of tossing grand sums of County money at a sports franchise would've been summarily laughed off of the agenda, and the person making such a suggestion helpfully escorted to the nearest asylum.

Fortunately for us, such commonsense actions would seem to escape Fairfax County entirely.

What better way to tell your grandchildren you love them than to vote them into fiscal slavery, right?

By a narrow vote Dec. 2, Loudoun's supervisors rejected a proposal to form a marketing partnership with the Redskins for a fee of $250,000. The money also would have gone toward plans for a Redskins hall of fame to be built in Loudoun.

Now, Fairfax is looking to pick up the ball and run with it.

During a board meeting Dec. 8, the Fairfax Board of Supervisors approved a proposal to look at using tourism dollars to attract the Redskins.

“Any kind of partnership with the Redskins would be advantageous to a jurisdiction like Fairfax County for the economic development and tourism tax dollars it could bring in,” Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield) said in a written statement.
By "tourism dollars," Fairfax County obviously means your tax revenue. And Lord knows how much the boondoggle will cost in the end, but I can promise you that it will be at least three orders of magnitude higher than $250,000—Which of course would be a paltry sum for the MEGA-millionaires at the Washington Redskins, to boot.

And Pat Harrity should know better than this. With such excellent financial foresight as this, is it any wonder that the Republicans can't seem to win an election around here? (After all: If Republicans can't budget any smarter than Democrats, then why not at least vote for the party that's honest about stealing my money?)

Let this be more proof that you should never neglect your local government, no matter how badly you think Washington, D.C. is behaving. Your county council has far more immediate power over your life, after all.



#1 Greg L 12-Dec-2008
The real problem here is that we've levied special taxes on hotels and tourism businesses and then devoted the revenue for those taxes to support tourism. What ends up in that fund can't be used for anything else, so we have to find ways to go out there and spend it. You can argue that there may be better uses for these tax revenues within the tourism promotion and development arena, but you can't argue this money should be used to fund education, for example, because legally it can't be spent on that.

So if not the Redskins Hall of Fame, what then? The DC United Hall of fame? A museum honoring Fairfax County elected officials from history, with a Gerry Connolly wing? Television advertising for hotels in Fairfax County?
#2 Brian C. Ledbetter 12-Dec-2008
I'm all for the County spending tourism dollars on something that actually [i]improves[/i] tourism.

Ad campaigns and the like are fine. How about informing people about some of the [i]history[/i] we have around here? Build a visitor center that can actually be reached from one of the various Interstates in the area?

Heck, I'd be all for it if the County spent the money on operating shuttle buses from the various hotels that pay this tax straight into DC, as it'd potentially lighten the load on the creaking Metrorail system.

But throwing it away on a sports team that can damn well pay for it themselves, particularly when not a single study shows that spending tax dollars on sports boondoggles actually INCREASES revenues, is a dumb idea, imo.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Greg! I was definitely thinking of your treatment of the story when I ran across this item—even though I don't really agree. :)

Warmest regards,
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