Friday, March 6, 2015

Setting the table: Stadium Luxury Boxes

Another in an occasional set of blog posts exploring potential budget cuts or tax increases that might be, to use Mayor Nutter's words, "on the table."

Setting the table: Stadium Luxury Boxes

Last week, Inquirer columnist Dan Rubin wrote about one possible source of revenue that doesn't seem to be "on the table" of possibilities for budget cuts or revenue enhancements: the city's stadium luxury boxes.  Rubin cites New York's Michael Bloomberg as an example of how a mayor can use these really cool perks to generate a little cash for  the city.

The administration, however, has been using the boxes for other admittedly altruistic purposes:

Apparently that arrangement can't happen here. Doug Oliver, who is Mayor Nutter's spokesman, offered a number of reasons why the city shouldn't give up its 20 or so seats at Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wachovia Center.

He touted the new way that the city hands out these seats, "rewarding kids for getting good grades in school and community groups and nonprofit organizations that would otherwise not have an opportunity to go to these events."

According to Rubin's numbers on usage of the box, Nutter has largely succeeded in putting these city-owned assets to use for a lot of deserving citizens and their families.

With the economy on such a downward trajectory and the ranks of those who "would otherwise not have an opportunity to go to these events" growing, the prospect of going to the occasional Phillies or Flyers game might be little or no comfort in this city.  As Rubin notes, the boxes could generate up to $500,000 to go towards the city's budget deficit.  While not a lot in the grand scheme, it's money that, at the very least, could help keep a few rec centers or libraries open.

The luxury boxes are starting to look like the proverbial 3 apples that have to feed 1.5 million people.  And how do you feed 1.5million people with these three valuable apples?  Make apple sauce.

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