Wingin’ It Wednesday: Saint/Pelicans Subsidies In Question
As drastic cuts are being made to state services and the budgets of other state agencies isn't it about time we looked at an entity that is getting loads of state money but doesn't really appear to need it?
The last time I saw a report of wealthy people in American Tom Benson was on that list. He should be very well to do. He owns car dealerships, a pro basketball team and a pro football team. Yet this very wealthy man and his cash rich interests are soaking up millions of state dollars.
One Louisiana Representative, Terry Brown of Colfax, is asking Governor Edwards to at least look into the state's agreements with Mr. Benson, the Saints, and the Pelicans. Brown suggested that if the state is cutting services for children, education, and roadways shouldn't the professional sports teams that get subsidies see some of their money cut too?
It’s not that I’m for doing away with the New Orleans Saints or New Orleans Pelicans but I think it’s time that we took state subsidies away from that and gave them to people that are actually in need, municipalities, fire departments, water districts.
Mr. Brown makes way too much sense for this to have any traction with state government. His remarks as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network, went on to suggest that he's not asking the Governor to renegotiate with Mr. Benson and his sports teams. He is merely suggesting that the state perhaps restructure the deals.
Mr. Benson is one of the richest men in Louisiana, I think the 17th richest in the United States. He’s in the top 800 in the world. I think he can finance his own Pelicans and New Orleans Saints.
If you're wondering just how much money we are talking about in state subsidies for Mr. Benson and his sports teams, how does an estimated $392 million grab you? Okay to be far that is projected through the year 2025. Since Mr. Benson is worth a reported $1.7 billion Mr. Brown of Colfax thinks maybe the state should consider this option too.
If it’s one penny and it’s a private entity, I don’t think the state needs to be in the business of subsidizing football teams and professional basketball teams that aren’t state owned.
I guess what we have to consider is this. You only need a hospital when you're sick. You only need the fire department when your home is burning. However football, well we saw what happened when Governor Edwards suggested the state might cancel LSU football.