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Is Blanco bluffing

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Do not know if this is true but I heard that Blanco is basically saying the state cannot afford to do much at all and that the Saints would have to pay for all stadium renovations. Furthermore she implied that ...

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Old 01-10-2005, 04:58 PM   #1
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Is Blanco bluffing

Do not know if this is true but I heard that Blanco is basically saying the state cannot afford to do much at all and that the Saints would have to pay for all stadium renovations. Furthermore she implied that we needed to rework the annual guaranteed payments. All in all I heard it was as close to telling the Saints to move as you could get. I thought the proposal was progressing === didn't know we ended up this far apart. Has anyone else heard this
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:04 PM   #2
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Is Blanco bluffing

Last I read, they wanted a proposal that would ween the Saints off of state subsidies, while voting a 1% increase in the hotel/motel tax and some other taxes with like .5% increases to pay the current payments. Didn\'t hear about the whole \"build it yourself\" part, but I did hear the State was willing to cover a large portion of the dome renovation, just maybe not all the extras.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:10 PM   #3
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Is Blanco bluffing

THIS IS THE LATEST I READ. SAYS IT WAS WRITTEN TODAY BUT I DONT KNOW HOW ACCURATE IT IS OR ISNT.

(AP) — The New Orleans Saints must pay for part of the cost of renovating the Superdome and agree to a reduction in the payments the state makes to the team, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Monday.

Outlining a proposal to renovate the Superdome and negotiate a new lease with the NFL, Blanco said the larger part of the financial burden must be assumed by the team, not the taxpayers.

\"The state is spending way too much and spending the taxpayers\' money in the wrong way,\" Blanco said.

The state and the team hope to work out a new, long-term deal that would keep the Saints in New Orleans. The current $186 million agreement with the team negotiated in 2001 by the administration of former Gov. Mike Foster runs through 2010, but the team can opt out after the 2005 season with no penalty.

Under the current agreement, Louisiana is obligated to make annual payments ranging from $15 million to $23.5 million. The state has had a difficult time making the payments because the taxes used for revenue have not generated as much money as projected.

Saints owner Tom Benson, who originally pushed for a new stadium, agreed last fall to a Superdome renovation, but wants continued payments and does not want to foot any of the bill for upgrading the stadium. Team officials did not return calls Monday for comment on Blanco\'s proposal.

Renovations to the Superdome will provide the Saints with the opportunity to earn more money, Blanco said. The renovation would produce new suites, more seating in the lower levels, which would sell for more, more concessions and other measures.

The estimated cost of the renovation is $168 million. Lawmakers who were briefed on the plan said last week it would require identifying between $10 million and $12 million in new funds. Blanco said, however, it was premature to begin looking for new taxes to pay for the deal. The key is reducing the payments to the Saints and having the team put up some money for the renovations, she said.

\"We\'re trying to put them on an appropriate businesslike basis where they can earn their way,\" Blanco said.

The governor\'s proposal, which would run through 2025, also would include specific performance obligations, although she did not spell out what they would be, and eliminate the clauses that allow the Saints to get out of a deal early.

Blanco said she would call NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue about the proposal. Blanco said she believes the league and other owners would find Louisiana\'s offer reasonable and she hoped they would urge Benson to accept it.

\"If the Saints are not willing to accept the basic principle of our offer, then we expect them to prove to us with a credible and independent financial review, why the proposal doesn\'t work for them,\" Blanco said.

Blanco said she would call Benson to discuss the proposal, but would not meet with him to negotiate until representatives had hammered out the main details.

If an agreement can be reached, renovation of the Superdome would begin in January 2006.


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Old 01-10-2005, 07:20 PM   #4
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Is Blanco bluffing

Well, there\'s two ways to look at this.

1. This is posturing before the negotiations. Anyone who has been in serious talks, beyond buying a car, knows that things always start in la-la land and everyone finally figures things out.

OR

2. She is taking a new stance and the team really will leave. I suspect that Benson has \"friends\" in the legislature and close to the deal. Maybe he knew this announcement was coming, which would explain the Haslett extension. Coast for a while and figure out how to get to LA ASAP.


I\'m split on this. I\'ve been back and forth on both side of the fence here. I originally saw reports from economists saying that teams like the Saints generate as much as $400 illion a year in economic impact.

Then I saw other reports from totally uninterested parties saying that sports franchises like the Saints don\'t have much impact at all.

It\'s hard to tell, and there are much smarter people than me working on this. That said, common sense tends to make me think that Benson\'s team is mismanaged and in need of welfare b/c he can\'t run it. I mean consider:

The Saints have a payroll of players alone of $80 million (that\'s the cap roughly). If we assume that the those players pay regular taxes (what\'s LA state tax - less than 10% I would guess), then that\'s $8 million to the state directly. How else does the team generate money FOR THE STATE?

They claim to have Net Income of less than $10 million a year, so that isn\'t much tax income. The state doesn\'t tax tickets or concessions - Benson takes 100% of both.

Sure the team contributes by employing people, which helps the economy - but this isn\'t anywhere near Avondale, which I\'ve heard it compared to. The Super Dome commission employs most of the people who work in the Dome. Outside of trainers and staff at the practice facility (which the state paid for, no?) and the marketing and administrative staff, who else does the team actually employ?

I\'m having a hard time even accounting for the $15 to $20 million the State is obligated to pay them, let alone any surplus.

Yes, the Super Bowl is a big deal, but NO can\'t have one for at least five or more years.

The flip side to that is, if the Saints leave, the Super Dome would most likely run at a loss to the tune of a few million a year anyway. Gun shows and Monster truck rallies aren\'t going to make up that money. The State might end up losing $5 mill a year anyway, so if the difference is about that amount, why not pay it?

There\'s no clear cut answer here, other than we all want the team to stay. Then again, a lot of us don\'t actually live there anymore.

What\'s frustrating to me is how little people outside of New Orleans want to help. I mean, consider - there are roughly 4 million people in LA - probably, and I\'m guessing here, a million wage earners. A tax that would cost people roughly 1 dollar a MONTH could pay for the Saints (yearly payments). A DOLLAR!! 3 Dollars a month pays for the Stadium renovations inside of a decade... you can\'t even get a coffee for $3. But if the state said it was taxing everyone for the Saints, no matter what the amount, there would be a revolt and the capital building would burn - not that you\'d be able to tell a difference in BR, but....

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Old 01-11-2005, 08:32 AM   #5
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Is Blanco bluffing

I am torn also -- I think that teams generate revenue in most states -- not only employment but it is a draw for corporations and other business -- unfortunately that really does not hold true for New Orleans. However - losing the With our education system and crime most corporations are going to stay away -- and until we improve those we will be reduced to a tourist town. That said -- losing the Saints would be a terrible blow -- it would accenctuate the fact we live in a dying city -- it would be kill any little morale the city has left.
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:14 AM   #6
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Is Blanco bluffing

I have a hard time with the $400 mil a year figure too. I mean, if you do simple math, it\'s pretty hard to come up with that number if you add up all the player salaries, the ticket sales, the vendor numbers, all of that. I believe that everyone, including Blanco, would like to see the Saints stay, but the problem is, with the issues in the state i.e. education, housing, struggling local economies, to just give money to a business without a true accounting of the benefits to the state is pretty hard to justify. At the same time, Benson is a business man and he\'s going to try to get the best deal possible so I have a hard time faulting him for his demands. You never ask for what you\'ll settle for in the end during negotiations, if professionals did that they\'d be fired in a heartbeat. Have some patience and let\'s see where this go.

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