The state of Arizona and the Cactus league have come down with a severe case of affluenza. The symptoms are classic: on one hand, Republican fury over taxes and “government waste” while the other hand finds itself busy in the public’s pocket. As AP reports in today’s Baltimore Sun, at Casa De Ricketts, they have no problem with levying taxes on the locals for the benefit of their sports franchises:
PHOENIX – Four teams opposed to a funding plan for a new Chicago Cubs spring-training stadium skipped a kickoff event Tuesday hosted by Mesa.
Angels spokesman Tim Mead said it’s fundamentally wrong to implement a tax on loyal baseball fans.
State Rep. John McComish’s bill would add a $1 surcharge to car-rental fees in Maricopa County and an 8 percent surcharge to all spring-training tickets. It’s intended to generate $58 million that would finance bonds issued by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority for a new Cubs complex.
Mesa would be responsible for $26 million of the $84 million price tag.
Given the state of Arizona’s shameful political legacy (playing host to the Keating / S&L scandals of the 80s, giving MLK the finger, electing Senator/Douchebag John “unemployment benefits prevent people from looking for work” Kyl), there is much to like in the poetically just idea that Cub Nation’s new bosses have chosen those particular sun-bleached suburbs for their panhandling efforts using local government as a sock puppet.
Yet, it shouldn’t pass without comment that the billionaire Ricketts clan, far from shining examples of the wonders of free-market capitalism, are old hands at socialism for the rich. In 2006, family trust member Pete Ricketts’ attempt to buy a Nebraska Senate seat included a TV spot where the plucky former Ameritrade CEO is transplanted to a farm and thereupon fulminates against “special interests” and rising taxes from atop a hay bale, the accompanying bucolic aroma no doubt appropriate to the hypocrisy.