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.
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.)
§ 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!
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