U.S. Rep. Bob Brady convened a "working group" of political, tourism and labor leaders this morning at the Union League to launch his push for Philadelphia to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.
A big question to work on answering: Who pays for what if the city hosts the big show?
Brady, who spoke to the media after the private meeting, seemed to take seriously Mayor Nutter's concern about the effort's cost. Four times, Brady said the city would not have to spend tax dollars to host the convention.
"We don't think the city has to put up anything," Brady said after the group heard a presentation from the team that produced the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. "We have to guarantee that."
Nutter, who did not attend the meeting or send anyone from his staff, first expressed interest 11 months ago when Brady publicly floated the idea of a Philadelphia bid for 2016. He did so again this week but reiterated a long list of concerns about security, fund-raising and organizing.
One major cost is security. Montgomery County Commission Chairman Josh Shapiro said "the dynamics of where those dollars come from have shifted dramatically to the federal government and away from the local and municipal and county governments" since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Brady, who plans to brief Nutter on the meeting, said the economic impact in the region from hosting a convention would be "astoundingly on the upside" to any money spent on the effort.
A non-profit established to run the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in 2000 raised $66 million for the effort, including $39 million from taxpayers in the Philadelphia region. A report compiled by the city later said the convention resulted in $345 million in economic impact for the region.
The Democratic National Committee is issuing a request for bids next month to cities interested in hosting the 2016 convention. Minneapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, Dallas, Columbus and The Meadowlands in northern New Jersey are all rumored to be interested in bidding.