What $400 mil would buy

Excellent column by the AJC’s Kyle Wingfield detailing what the money earmarked for an unnecessary football stadium could go toward instead: 

For example, it could go to cutting property taxes. Atlanta takes in $18 million to $20 million in general funds for each mill of property taxes. (A mill equals a dollar of tax for every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value.)

If the city were to lower property taxes by one mill and replace the revenue with hotel taxes, the owner of a $250,000 home would save $250 a year. (Hey, that’s about what it costs to take a family of four to a Falcons game!)

On the other hand, we could continue to spend the money, just not on a new stadium. The list of potential projects is long. Here are some possibilities, not all of which I’m endorsing simply by including them here.

For $400 million, we could build the entire 44-mile network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes planned to help ease congestion in the region. Or we could make a number of improvements to freeway interchanges choked by traffic.

For those more interested in public transportation, the city could complete about a third of the BeltLine’s 22-mile transit loop. Alternatively, it could more than cover the first phase of the proposed streetcar route along the Peachtree corridor (a project I’d personally put at the bottom of the list).

Or the city could do the opposite of what governments tend to do and reduce the burden on future taxpayers.

With $400 million, the city could erase more than a quarter of its $1.5 billion pension funds deficit. Or it could pay for a big chunk of its continuing, $4 billion water and sewer infrastructure repairs. Those costs are inescapable. Why pass them on to unborn Atlantans when visitors could help us pay them down now?

Or we could give the money to one of the state’s five billionaires.



3 responses to “What $400 mil would buy”

  1. First time Wingfield writes something that makes sense….more of this.

  2. Any chance Blank’s gift gets overturned? Will there be a public outcry? Or doe enough people even care?

  3. I like how Wingfield (and the idiot posters) makes this look like another example of City of Atlanta largess and fiscal irresponsibility, when in fact, this is a massive state give-away. Blame the folks running the GA General Assembly. The GA World Congress Center is owned and operated by the state of Georgia, not Atlanta (although the city is actively pushing for another downtown stadium), but I guess that doesn’t fit the accepted Republican frame.

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