In an extensive article in the Sacramento News & Review (SN&R) this week, Geoffrey Propheter, a George Washington University Ph.D. candidate with expertise in sports facility funding, said the following: “You’ve got to ask, ’Could we do something else with that $258 million?’ Politically, that’s not a very appealing question, and no one asks it.” He says dollar for dollar, the city would probably be better off making investments to promote small business.
That same question was posed here in March – and it’s still a valid and reasonable question getting very little attention.
As has also been mentioned here before, $250,000,000 could provide 100 x $100,000 in small business development grants every year for 25 years. And that’s only accounting for the initial investment – if you allow for the total costs over the life of the loan (cited in various local articles as closer to $700,000,ooo) the number of such grants could be almost tripled. And people were excited when only one such grant was awarded recently as part of a business development competition in Downtown.
The other aspect of all of this that still gets very little press is that the loan payoff plan takes 35 years – for a facility that, if typical of similar facilities, will most likely need to be replaced or extensively renovated after 20 years. Generally, one doesn’t enter into loans that take longer to pay off than the life of what is being paid for. That’s why we have 30 year home mortgages but not 30 year car loans.
The SN&R article is thorough, pulling together several key questions and issues that have been asked around town – questions that nobody ever seems eager to answer.