[Mintwood-place] Councilmember Graham's 'No' vote on the baseball
jim at grahamwone.com
jim at grahamwone.com
Wed Nov 3 16:28:50 PST 2004
I write to explain my No vote today on the baseball package in the
Economic Development Committee. (The bill goes to a first vote before the
full Council next Tuesday, November 9.)
My fundamental position has not changed: The Administration has shown
incredible determination to fund a new baseball stadium - and I will only
support the package if we show the same determination to fund our critical
and under-funded needs. Our libraries and recreation centers need funding
more than a baseball stadium.
Yet the baseball package, as it stands, does not address these pressing
needs. One of my immediate concerns is that a modified bill was - perhaps
not coincidentally - delivered yesterday, a day when all of us were on
annual leave and working polling places. As such, I have not had time to
evaluate the new bill and its consequences for potentially more than $800
million of public funds.
Moreover, the so-called Community Benefits Fund is, at best,
insufficient. The current structure includes a $400 million TIF (Tax
Increment Financing) district around the stadium to fund community
needs, but I have doubts about this form of financing. Not only is this a
delayed and uncertain revenue source (there is much disagreement about the
economic proceeds that might be generated around the stadium), but some of
this money would have been directed to the Districts General Fund anyway.
Thats why I hope to generate additional revenue of roughly $75 million
for the needs I have identified. There have been some welcome adjustments
to the gross receipts tax on our biggest businesses in the updated bill,
but the exact benefit to our libraries, recreation centers, etc. is not
yet known. I had hoped to see a fiscal impact statement from our Chief
Financial Officer today, but it is not yet completed. One of the only
assurances I have that
additional money exists is an article in todays Washington Post - and I
simply cannot support this legislation when some of the critical, specific
information exists only in a media report.
And, so, I voted No on the baseball package today. I will update you on
developments as the days and weeks move forward, but I wanted to assure
you that I am continuing my fight to address our most pressing needs. I
truly feel the baseball package presents a unique opportunity for a
renaissance in our public libraries and a revitalization of our recreation
center. However, if we do not seize upon this opportunity - and we have
not done so yet - I cannot support the baseball bill.
Councilmember Jim Graham
I typically answer emails before 9 AM on weekdays. If you email me after
that, it is likely that you will hear from me the next weekday. If there
is a need to communicate prior to that, you may wish to call me.
Jim Graham, Councilmember, Ward One, 1350 Pa. Ave., NW, #406,
Washington, DC 20004. 202-724-8181; 202-724-8109 (fax).
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