Seventy Offers 'Creative' Budget Ideas

The Committee of Seventy has put an interesting report up on their site, noting some of the creative budget changes other cities have made to cut costs or boost revenues. You can check it out here.

Here's one the city might want to mull over:

- Lease back the city-owned luxury boxes at the stadiums.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed last year to give back the city’s luxury boxes he had negotiated for at the new Yankees and Mets baseball stadiums. Under the deal, which he agreed to only after the public complained, the mayor said the teams could sell the boxes at market rates, but the city would get the money. The teams agreed to pay the city at least $100,000, but luxury boxes for the Yankees were selling for up to $800,000 per season and up for $600,000 for the Mets, so the city stood to get some real money.

Could it work here: Of course. Philadelphia enjoys luxury boxes at the city’s sports arenas, boxes that would be worth well into the six-figure-per-season range on the open market. True, seats are often given away to city residents, but city officials and their families also take advantage of the boxes for championship games and rock concerts. In San Diego, they call this kind of thing a “gift” and make officials treat it as taxable income.