Friday, September 24, 2010

Sportsplex, Minor League Baseball Stadium

The "Bridge To Nowhere" (Alaska), "To Big To Fail" (Washington D.C.) and now "To Big To Ignore" (McHenry County IL). With the County Board extending the financing deadline for The Equity One Minor League Baseball Stadium (Woodstock, $15 million) and The McHenry County Sportsplex (Lakewood, $18 million) to December, it looks like we intend to entertain our way out of this recession. I disagree with both developments. Sure it will create jobs in the short term, but what happens later? When the business models don't hold up, and they come to the tax payer to bail them out or they'll go bankrupt. Then they will be too big to fail and get whatever tax payer support they want.

When developers come to the county and want to spend 10s of millions of dollars, the "any growth is good growth" board members rise to the occasion and approve their plans. These are private facilities, not public! They can not get all the financing on their own - for good reason. The projects are not sustainable. They will need more taxpayer help in the future.

This is very similar to the residential housing bust - build it and they will come, build it and then walk away without regard for the consequences. The people involved get their compensation - fees, commission, bonuses, ect. - and then it all collapses.

I am against both developments and believe the bonds should have gone to help small and medium size business. This is a very difficult loan environment for local businesses. Sure, some loans to small business will default, but the vast majority will not. Local established businesses will do more for the economy over the long-term than these large dramatic developments.

The financing deadline has been extended until Dec. It may need to be extended again. You can influence this with the Nov election. The two incumbents in district 5 voted for the financing. I will be against it.