Great WSJ story on how the Cincinnati Bengals completely fleeced Hamilton County taxpayers for their stadium, creating a long-term county budget crisis that is crippling the region. My favorite part:
Given the national economic slump, the county budget would have run into trouble with or without the Bengals deal. But county officials say the cuts are deeper and longer lasting because of it. Unlike most areas of the budget, the stadium can’t be pared.
“It’s the monster that ate the public sector,” says Mark Reed, Hamilton County’s juvenile court administrator.
Like many other items in the budget, the juvenile court has seen its funding slashed—by $13.4 million from 2008 to 2010. It was forced to nix funding for programs like Youth, Inc., which worked with troubled adolescents.
Publicly funded stadiums for sports teams owned by billionaires are always a bad idea, but it seems that Cincinnati civic leaders were extra good at playing the sucker.
But hey, at least the product on the field has been consistently first-rate!