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The Bronco Bill

not a penny for schools, empty the treasury for Pat Bowlen

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 01, 1996.

The Bronco Bill narrowly passed its first step towards its avowed goal: getting the tax payers to unload for a new stadium to replace Mile High. It is not an unimportant item, two hundred sixty million dollars if there are not cost overruns. Say that with a straight face.

There is an unfortunate assumption that a new stadium will be just like Coors Field: a marvelous architectural monument and economic windfall for the city and state. When such thoughts emerge from the brain numb sports fan, it can be forgiven as simple stupidity. When it exudes from people in authority it is far more dangerous for it is not true.

The reasons are simple. Baseball provides about what, eighty home games a year. Football has about ten. So even if the cash flow is about the same as for Coors, divide income by, say, eight.

Further, the stadium is to be paid for by sales taxes in the $.01 per $10 range. Considering that our schools are tied to property taxes, with the resultant disparity between inner city and wealthy suburb, this provides interesting speculation. The six metro counties to be subject to the tax hope to raise $180 million. Here, we have exposed an essential Republican hypocrisy. While many voted against such a boondoggle, it is not inaccurate to say that the creators of such drives are Republicans and their lobbyists – the very ones bellyaching that taxes are too high now. So they go for a regressive tax – because who owns the property? – or, God forbid, demanding that hairy-chested free marketers like Pat Bowlen pay their own way.

While our government yet again bails out western farmers and cattlemen whining about drought and low prices, these same intrepids nod their heads sagely over the likes of Bronco bills, then scream ‘government interference!’ if schools ask for more money so teachers are to be paid a small percentage of what walk-on place kickers can expect to make.

You don’t have to be a liberal or socialist to be annoyed at the illogic. You don’t have to be a cleric to be appalled at the self-serving hypocrisy. You only have to vote, recalling who supported such a boondoggle, such a pork barrel of a bill.