Category Archives: financial

Public-Private Bike Race Foes Can Show Our Strength: OPPOSE the State Acquisition of the VA Sports Hall of Fame!

I got several positive comments about my expose of the taxpayer money spent on the disruptive world bike race last September.  One said something to the effect of:  How do we stop them next time?

Well, let’s start with this:  Senator L. Louise Lucas has introduced this bill:

SB 28 Virginia Sports Hall of Fame; created, report.

Introduced by: L. Louise Lucas | all patrons    …    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Creates the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as a public body with a board of directors (the Board) consisting of 21 members, of whom six are to be members of the House of Delegates, four are to be members of the Senate, six are to be nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, and five are to be nonlegislative citizen members elected by the Board.

Now each bill has included (probably due to a good conservative behind the scenes) a financial impact statement and here it is for this bill.  A few juicy highlights:

Fiscal Implications:
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, established in 1972, is a private nonprofit located in Portsmouth. In addition to the cost of the Board and an executive director, the Governor’s introduced budget includes $250,000 for each year of the biennium for the Hall of Fame (Item 129. F.)
It gets better (From the bill itself but it’s also in the financial summary):

§ 23-253.9. Board powers.

A. In addition to the powers set forth elsewhere in this chapter, the Board may:

***5. Employ, either as regular employees or independent contractors, accountants, architects, attorneys, construction experts and personnel, consultants, curators, docents, engineers, financial experts, historians, researchers, superintendents, managers and other professional personnel, personnel, and agents as may be necessary in the judgment of the Board and fix their compensation;

6. Determine the locations of, develop, establish, construct, erect, acquire, own, repair, remodel, add to, extend, improve, equip, operate, regulate, and maintain facilities to the extent necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Board;

7. Acquire, hold, lease, use, encumber, transfer, or dispose of real and personal property;

***

9. Regulate the use and operation of facilities acquired under the provisions of this chapter;

***

11. Borrow money from any source for any valid purpose, including working capital for its operations, reserve funds, or interest, and mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the property or funds of the Board and contract with or engage the services of any person in connection with any financing, including financial institutions, issuers of letters of credit, or insurers;

Now the financial summary insists that this would ONLY cost the Commonwealth $250,000.  BUT, if the board can hire people, maintain facilities, acquire property and borrow money, I can assure you that the inevitable mission creep will occur and soon we will have this board with a $5,000,000 budget at least in part from taxpayer dollars.  Remember Sandy’s First Law:  Taxpayers get shafted!  And Sandy’s Third Law:  Never Buy the Original Numbers!

Now don’t take the word of a humble blogger from Hanover.  Take the word of this Virginian Pilot article:

It has operated as a private nonprofit since 1972. The group’s last tax form posted online from 2013 indicates it had a budget of $1.2 million and $954,000 in revenue, about half from taxpayer subsidies.

After years of routinely cutting an annual check of $500,000, Portsmouth’s funding has dwindled.

The proposed legislation doesn’t mandate taxpayer subsidies, but hall President Eddie Webb said that is the organization’s goal.

The sports hall is a museum, he said, and can’t make ends meet without taxpayer subsidies. Webb said there is no state-funded museum east of Williamsburg.

Now when the Virginian-Pilot says someone hopes to get a government subsidy, you can believe it!  It’s like the Washington Post saying we must “invest” in education.  I appreciate the integrity of Mr. Webb.  He says the museum can’t make it financially without taxpayer subsidies!

But why not?

After all there are former NFL players and former NBA players (and probably former MLB players, too!) in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.  Why not hit these star players – or their kids and grandkids – for contributions?

Frankly, I got to say:  I like sports and I like honoring Virginians who have served sports well.  But not with taxpayer money.  I’d rather not have a Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and to have one with the need for taxpayer subsidies.

Finally, if this board becomes a state agency – its decisions will be political ones.  By definition.So to everybody who reads this blog and agrees with me:  No more public subsidies for what is private activities without a very compelling reason.  Not the movies.  Not the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts.  Not the Redskins practice facility.  Not the Shockoe Bottom stadium.  And definitely not the World Championship bike races.

Remember how disrupted you were that week in September?  Call or email or mail your delegate or senator tonight!  Go here and find out who your delegate and/or senator are.  And let me know you did it!  I’ll send my automatic copy of this post I get from the blog to Senator McDougle and Delegate Peace.   Time to say HECK NO!

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Note to PM Tsipras and the Greek People: Do What’s Best for Greece and the Greek People – not the EU!

Only July 7, the Greek people will vote on whether to accept a bailout from international sources.  But it is really a vote on stay in the Euro or out.  And Greece should do what it thinks is right:  Restore its financial sovereignty and send a message that a nation can get out of the Euro and maybe the European Union as well.

The Reuters article has a balanced viewpoint and I like it:

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, elected in January on a promise to end years of austerity, urged people packing Syntagma square in central Athens to spurn the tough terms of an aid deal offered by international creditors to keep the country afloat.

***

Tsipras says they are bluffing, fearing the fallout for Europe and the global economy. A ‘Yes’ vote may bring him down, ushering in a new period of political instability for a country reeling from five days of shuttered banks and rationed cash withdrawals.

EU leaders aren’t bluffing:  They want to continue their dominance and bullying of Greece:

European policy makers, however, issued fresh warnings of the costs of a ‘No’ vote in a plebiscite called with just eight days’ notice after the breakdown of talks with the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble dismissed Tsipras’ argument that his government would be able to move smoothly to negotiate more favorable terms if Greeks backed his rejection.

“If the Greeks will vote ‘No’, the Greek position is dramatically weakened,” Juncker told a news conference.

 

These German leaders ought to be more diplomatic in light of the Second World War!  Here’s more threats:

The euro zone’s rescue fund, Greece’s largest creditor, said it was reserving the right to call in 130.9 billion euros of debt ahead of time after Athens defaulted on an IMF loan.

I do not expect this post to turn the tide (I can’t even impact a local race it seems) but I need to place this  on the record and the No forces can use it as they see fit.

Greece and its people must do what’s right for Greece and its people.  If that means no more bailouts, so be it.  If that means restoring the drachma, so be it.  Nations can work together and should do so.  But no bullying or threats.

The United States ought to help smaller nations be sovereign over these nascent superempires.  But instead the GOP leaders just gave the President power to seek to bind the USA to yet another trade agreement.

The No side in the future EU referendum ought to realize:  This fight will be nasty and evil.  The kitchen sink and then some will be thrown at the British people to get them to vote yes.  Lies and deceit and promises.  Don’t trust the politicians.  Vote NO on the EU.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders