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tiggerpolice 06-03-2005 07:24 AM

Smart play: Let New Orleans pay the Saints
Smart play: Let New Orleans pay the Saints

The issue: Special taxes to pay off the Saints.
We suggest: They put the cost where the benefit is.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco is proposing a set of new taxes that would target the New Orleans area generally and New Orleans Saints fans specifically to generate the money the state needs to keep paying the team $186 million over 10 years. It’s an obligation the previous administration incurred but which the state now says it cannot meet.

Blanco’s proposal is good politics. If legislation to implement it is drafted properly -- for example, the taxes should sunset when the 10-year deal concludes -- it deserves passage. The plan to continue the controversial payments to an already-profitable professional sports team would place most of the burden with those who will derive the primary benefit of keeping the Saints in New Orleans.

On Wednesday, consideration of the tax plan was delayed for a week in the Legislature so the Blanco administration can conduct further discussions with legislators from Orleans and Jefferson parishes, where hotel and car-rental taxes would go up. In addition to room- and car-rental customers, Saints’ ticket-buyers would pay surcharges. Together, the new taxes would produce an estimated $12 million a year, which is almost what the state believes it needs to pay its annual keep-the-Saints bill.

Understandably, many Louisianians in the far-flung reaches of the state and the members of the Legislature who represent them are not inclined to keep paying the Saints. Residents of western and northern Louisiana do not closely follow the team; the Houston and Dallas teams are nearer to their homes and their hearts. And these residents derive little of the financial benefit attributed to the Saints’ operations in New Orleans.

However, according to an economic-benefit analysis by Timothy Ryan of the University of New Orleans, more than 4,000 jobs with salaries of $161 million are created directly and indirectly by Saints’ operations, those operations create more than $25 million in state and local tax payments annually, and overall spending in Saints-related operations tops $400 million. While those numbers are estimates, it is indisputable that the team’s presence makes a significant positive contribution to the economy of the New Orleans region.

Yes, it’s galling that owner Tom Benson has demanded that state government pay him a subsidy and that the state was more or less forced to comply to keep the team from leaving. Lamentably, that is the situation across the nation with other NFL teams and other states and cities. There is financial competition by cities that do not have teams to pay big bucks to owners to attract them. On top of the measurable economic impact, our society bequeaths teams a desirable quality-of-life quotient -- you can debate the merits of that, but you cannot argue that it exists.

The previously mentioned economic-benefit report indicates it would cost the city and state money were the Saints to leave. Additionally, New Orleans and Louisiana would suffer in prestige if the Saints depart for a more-lucrative location -- and clearly there are cities that can put more money on the table.

Louisiana state government presently does not have the dollars available in its budget to meet all of its needs for education, health care and coastal preservation, all of which are higher priorities than professional football. New levies on New Orleans-area car rentals and hotel rooms and Saints-ticket surcharges look like a politically palatable solution to keeping up the state’s payment obligation to the team.

WhoDat 06-03-2005 09:00 AM

RE: Smart play: Let New Orleans pay the Saints
Wow - you mean a paper in Houma thinks the New Orleans area should pay the extra $10 million a year to finance the Saints? Who ever would have guessed?

The entire premise of this article is so misguided I can't even comment on it.

Euphoria 06-03-2005 09:58 AM

RE: Smart play: Let New Orleans pay the Saints
I think the stand is... there is a deal in place and both sides should honor the agreement until a new one is in place. Houma is so close to New Orleans. Sure they will feel an impact if the Saints left.

I think the NFL commishionor should step in here soon and negociate a cease fire and a plan. I don't feel right about the payments. I don't think its right but the fact the deal is in place and should be honored... The state is starting to act like TO in this reguard.

I almost think that this is a way for Benson not to raise ticket prices... but pass the buck and let the state do it for him. I seriously don't think this is Bensons plan but thats what its boiling down to.

saintswhodi 06-03-2005 10:10 AM


I think the stand is... there is a deal in place and both sides should honor the agreement until a new one is in place.

I don't feel right about the payments. I don't think its right but the fact the deal is in place and should be honored... The state is starting to act like TO in this reguard.
You do know Benson has gone to the state to renegotiate his 1985 deal THREE times right? So what you are saying is, the deal should be honored by the state, but if the Saints want a new deal, then it's okay to go to the table as many times as they feel like, correct? Not hard to figure which side you are on Euph.

newshound 06-03-2005 04:35 PM

New Orleans already pays for the Saints. Money is already taken from a tax on the hotel motel industry. I can't see anywhere else in the state where the Hotels are filled year round. Funny thing about it, the tax on the New Orleans Hotel/Motels, whereas some goes to pay the Saints, the rest goes to the rest of the state, the same people who are complaining about paying the Saints and don't want them.

If they go, there will be a HUGE hole in the budget. I want to know how that will be filled. Also, hasn't the state made an extra 600 million this year in revenue due to the movie industry? Are they not about to run them out? :roll:

I have to head out, chomp me up while I'm not around :D :D

Euphoria 06-03-2005 07:12 PM

Don't be putting me on one side or the other on this... I have problems with both sides actually and I am not on either one side. I think its wrong for a company-oranization, whatever to get subsidiary payments that is profiting. Farms get payments because they aren't that profitiable. I do think its hurting New Orleans to not sign the Saints to a long term deal because NO isn't going to get a Super Bowl until a deal is done. I don't fault Benson that much due to the fact he is a buisnessman. Its in the best interest of both parties to come to an agreement now.

CheramieIII 06-03-2005 07:12 PM

Ok lets pay the extra tax to keep the Saints, but the State and more impotently our Govenor need to ensure that all of the money raised stays in New Orleans.

No special interest group in Houma, Shreveport or Ville Platte in 5 years should get any of it and that means, NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE OTHER THAN THE SAINTS OR THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS SHOULD SEE A DIME OF THAT MONEY and if the legislation is not written that way I would not vote for it, cuz you all know about Louisiana politics.

blackwidows 06-04-2005 11:54 AM

EDITOR THAT CREATED THIS POST you did not write your opinion on this. whats your status on this?what is your opinion? or else i did not read the whole thing because i stated before i'm sick of the benson vs govenor soap opera. it is saturated pop there is weigh to much ice in it what is the next flavor bartender can you people find a topic that might not be so saturated. ok like sullivan not to many people talk about him being lazy but he is
the brooks bashers are a soap opera in there own right.

WhoDat 06-04-2005 11:59 AM


Originally Posted by newshound
If they go, there will be a HUGE hole in the budget.

No, there won't be a huge hole. It seems to me we've been over this on this site. There may be a loss of prestige - which may have an "economic impact" measurable in dollars and cents - but as far as the LA budget goes, there will be a nominal loss at best.


Originally Posted by newshound
I want to know how that will be filled.

Very easily.

Tobias-Reiper 06-04-2005 03:05 PM

.. the one thing I want to know, is what's going to happen afterwards, should the State agree to Benson's terms, i.e., what is going to keep Benson from asking for more down the line... at what point does the subsidy to one of the richest companies in the U.S.A. (the NFL) stops.

Say the State comes up with the money to make the 15,000,000/year payment and 400-500,000,000 for a new stadium.... in 2-3 years from now, should the Saints keep on their 8-8 ways, they are not going to get "new money". i.e., new fans. so they are going to squeeze more cash from the same ol' loyal fans in the form of PSLs and higher ticket/consession/parking prices.... At one point, Joe Fan is NOT going to be able to afford going to the game...

.. and as far as the luxury boxes go, exactly who's going to buy them? It's not like New Orleans is the Corporate Capital of the U.S.A.. Yes they are some rich people living in N.O., but I doubt they all are going to rush to get their luxury boxes to go see 8-8..., what's going to happen 2-3 years down the line when the Saints still are not as profitable as Benson/the NFL would like? Ask for more? Move?

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