When the Rangers and Arlington, Texas announced the new ballpark last spring it was sold as a 50/50 public-private split. Then in June, local TV station WFAA dug into the paperwork and discovered that, in reality, the Rangers were being gifted with a lot more money from taxpayers than they initially admitted. Indeed, a big chunk of tax revenue — ticket and parking taxes which almost always go to the government and are used to fund the public’s share of a stadium project — are being handed over to the Rangers who will us it to fund their “50 percent” share.
Now WFAA reports that there is even more corporate welfare involved: the Rangers will retain the naming rights to the stadium and reap the revenue from any naming deals. Not the team, which technically owns the park. The Rangers are also getting the money from personal seat licenses, to the tune of $75 million. WFAA estimates that taxpayers will be giving $1.675 billion to the Rangers over the next 30 years.
Arlington voters go to the polls on November 8 to ratify or reject this deal. Here’s hoping they reject it. There are way better uses of a billion and a half dollars in tax revenue than gifts to billionaire CEOs of energy companies like Bob Simpson and Ray Davis.