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Monday, February 05, 2007

Soccer Caucus

The Senate Majority held a special meeting to discuss funding a REAL Salt Lake stadium in Utah. Viewpoints were mixed. This is a cultural, quality-of-life issue for us and it would be a shame to say goodbye to our pro team. However, we still need to see if we can work out some of the details.

This could go either way. More discussion tomorrow.

19 Comments:

Anonymous MLS is overrated said...

At least you're not calling it an economic development issue. You get some props for that.

I wasn't aware that Utah's cultural quality of life was so low that we had to spend tax dollars to improve it. Isn't that what the ZAP Tax is supposed to do?

And all along I thought we had more pressing issues such as education and roads.

2/05/2007 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please save the Stadium and why you are at it maybe you can look into Healthcare,Education, and Transportation REAL issues.

2/05/2007 10:54 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Thanks for the props, and thanks for having your priorities straight. The stadium issue carries some urgency because of the short timeframe, but we're still working on all the other issues you (both of you) mention: Education, Transportation, Healthcare, and a thousand others.

Here's where we're headed on those topics:

http://senatesite.com/blog/2007/01/step-we-think-in-right-direction.html

2/05/2007 11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for supporting the stadium. Tax dollars are NOT building the stadium, another $80 Million dollars or more are being put in by RSL and its business partners to build the stadium, the tax dollars are for the infrastructure and land. As someone with an entire family involved in Utah soccer for many many years this issue is important to us, as well as the soccer complex that should already have been built, the bond passed in 2003. Of course Education and many other issues are equally if not more important, however the TRT will not (and cannot?) be spent on those things.

2/06/2007 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tax dollars are NOT building the stadium but are being used for the land and infrastructure? The difference is mostly semantics. Businesses typically cover the cost of buying land and providing infrastructure. If I start a business tomorrow, government is not going to buy land and build infrastructure for me.

So what if the state owns the land and infrastructure? What happens if RSL and/or MLS goes belly up? The state will own land with an empty stadium on it. What good is that? The state doesn't need its own stadium, and tearing it down in order to sell the land would cost millions.

2/06/2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between you starting a business tomorrow and RSL is that your business would not benefit Utah like RSL has, approximately $25 MILLION in tourist revenue just in the last 2 years (the World Cup and Real Madrid match). That is only counting 2 games, I don't know what the other 30 plus games brought in when fans came to visit. Was that good for Utah? Did the beautiful images of Utah get broadcast all of the world because of soccer? Yes it did. If you can start a business that brings in that kind of tourism revenue and positive image to Utah (AND PROVED THAT IT DOES), we should support that too.

2/06/2007 7:52 AM  
Blogger AreliusIV said...

The land that the state purchases and on which the stadium will be built will appreciate by about $1 million a year, according to Salt Lake County Councilman Jeff Allen, who is a real estate developer by profession. He has also been quoted as saying that in the unlikely event that RSL folds, you can raze the stadium for less than $1 million sell a prime piece of real estate and even make a profit on it...

There is no risk in this deal. Don't believe the media hype...

2/06/2007 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you know that other businesses won't bring in money to Utah?

IT, manufacturing, and natural resources bring in much more money to Utah than RSL.

These industries bring money into the state and provide high wage jobs. It's time that people stop thinking of tourism as the only source of outside income for the state, especially since tourism jobs are among the lowest paid jobs.

Most of the RSL attendees are not out-of-state tourists. They are local tourists, and their money is already in the economy.

Economists, liberal and conservative, agree that subsidizing sports venues has minimal impact on the state's economy.

2/06/2007 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RSL's benefit to the economy is overstated. Most of the so-called "tourist" revenue that occurs at the stadium is really "local" revenue.

What makes you think that tourism is the only way to bring money into Utah? What about export industries like manufacturing, IT, and natural resources? These are high-wage industries, unlike tourism which is a low wage industry.

2/06/2007 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when did the state decide to get into real estate speculation?

2/06/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to guess on potential benefits to Utah, the speculation about other business that can help Utah is just that, speculation. RSL has proven it. Read this article, it actually amounts to $27.5 million:

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,645192661,00.html

Only the Olympics were on that scale. The so called tourists were NOT local, a study was done by the U. Don't get sidetracked talking about Industry, IT, etc. This is not about that. This is about funding a stadium and if that benefits Utah.

2/06/2007 10:44 AM  
Blogger AreliusIV said...

For your information, the state issued an approximate $25 million bond (roughly equivalent to $38.6 million in 2006 dollars) to pay for land under the EnergySolutions Arena and associated infrastructure. To pay off the bond the RDA spends $2.3 million a year.

Salt Lake City also subsidized construction of Franklin Covey Field. The RDA spends $600,000 a year to pay off an $18 million bond on the stadium. The city also underwrites the baseball venue's annual operations, by $100,000 a year.

2/06/2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And who says that subsidizing Franklin Covey Field was a good idea?

At least with the Delta/Energy Solutions Center, Utah did not have a lot of "world class" venues at the time. Now we have the E-Center, USANA Amphitheater, expanded Rice-Eccles. We do not have a shortage of venues.

2/06/2007 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The positive impact of IT, manufacturing, and natural resources is not speculative. Natural resources brings in more money to the state in one year than RSL will bring in fifty years.

While the world cup qualifier and Real Madrid brought money into the economy, regular season RSL games bring in little.

How many more World Cup qualifiers and Real Madrid games can we expect?

Besides, do we absolutely need RSL in order to host a WC qualifier?

Finally, I would hope that if the state and Sandy spend $30 to $40 million on the stadium, we would get more than that amount back in the future. So far, you are at $27.5 million (without a SSS, btw).

2/06/2007 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The state, Sandy City and Salt Lake County are spending their money over a 10-20 year period, about $2 million per year. $15-$20 million of out of state money comes into the state each year. This project will add additional property taxes not only from the stadium, but also from the other projects located in and around the stadium, we are gaining more than we are spending.

Governments typically offer incentives to companies willing to locate or expand operations in Utah. Why is RSL any different?

2/06/2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subsidizing locally driven retail, entertainment, office space and recreation does not increase economic growth. The lion's share of the consumer activity at and around the stadium will occur on its own in some form without subsidy.

Economic growth depends on increasing productivity and production, not consumer expenditures. Locally driven retail and entertainment follow economic growth. They do not create it.

2/06/2007 2:40 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

This just in from the Governor's Office:

News Release
February 6, 2007

Governor Huntsman calls on Legislature to Save Utah Soccer

Salt Lake City, Utah – Utah Governor Jon Huntsman today called on the Utah State Legislature to amend and pass 1SHB 38 in support of professional soccer in Utah.

“It is important for everyone to understand the proposal at hand: we are not building a stadium with State taxpayer money. This is an economic development investment in valuable property and a valuable community asset,” Governor Huntsman said. “The transient room tax (TRT) is placed on hotel rooms and rental cars, paid by visitors to Salt Lake County and used to help fund tourist-related resources and facilities. This plan uses just 15 percent of that tax, while the rest is dedicated to other Salt Lake County projects.”

The amended bill would direct $20 million of previously approved TRT funds, set aside in 2005 to build a parking structure for the South Towne Expo Center, and an additional $15 million for the purchase of land and public infrastructure. The bill amending the parking structure funding passed the House of Representatives last week and is awaiting action in the Senate. The bill must be approved this week in order to meet ReAL's Friday deadline.

“ReAL Salt Lake has become a proud part of our community and it is imperative for the Legislature to act now in order to keep this tremendous asset here in Utah,” Governor Huntsman said. “I urge the Senate to amend 1SHB 38 to extend the transient room tax sunset to buy land in Sandy, and the House to concur, in order to honor the commitments made to ReAL and Utah. We must work together to make this a reality.

“This project will enhance our quality of life, especially for the hundreds of thousands of Utah youth who play soccer.”

# # #

2/06/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Huntsman drank the kool aid

2/06/2007 7:08 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Thanks all, for the great discussion. The Stadium Bill passed the Utah Senate this afternoon, 20 to 8. We've posted some great audio here and here.

2/06/2007 8:52 PM  

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