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The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a number of promises typically made by owners of professional sports franchises in the USA that are also typically ignored or…
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a number of promises typically made by owners of professional sports franchises in the USA that are also typically ignored or underevaluated by public bureaus and their elected principals using the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York as a case study. Ex post subsidy outcomes are evaluated against ex ante subsidy promises in order to draw lessons that can inform and improve subsidy debates elsewhere.
The case study adopts a pre-post strategy drawing on data from multiple sources over a period of up to ten years in order to triangulate the narrative and build credibility. The franchise owner’s ex ante promises and financial projections were obtained from various media including newspaper, video and interviews between December 2003, when the arena was publicly announced, and September 2012, when the arena opened. Data on ex post outputs were obtained from financial documents and government records covering periods from September 2011 through June 2016.
The franchise owner is found to have exaggerated the arena’s financial condition, under-delivered on its employment promises, and exaggerated the scope and timeliness of ancillary real estate development. Only promises of event frequency and attendance levels, measures of the public’s demand for the facility, have been met during the first three years.
Because the evaluation is a case study, causal conclusions cannot be drawn and some aspects of the Barclays Center context may not be applicable in other jurisdictions or subsidy debates. In addition, the case study does not evaluate an exhaustive list of the promises franchise owners make.
Franchise owners have a financial incentive to overpromise public benefits, since subsidy levels are tied to what the public is perceived to receive in return. This case study demonstrates that the public sector should not take owners’ promises and projections of public benefits at face value. Moreover, the case study reveals that the public sector should put more effort into ensuring ex post policy and data transparency in order to facilitate benefit-cost analyses of such subsidies.
The data required to evaluate promises, other than economic development ones, made by franchise owners are not systematically collected across state and local governments in the USA, making large-n studies impossible. Case studies are underutilized approaches in this area of public affairs, and this paper illustrates their usefulness. By focusing on a single facility, an evaluation of the franchise owner’s less acknowledged and arguably more important promises about the facility and its local impact is possible.
In August 2015, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) adopted Statement 77, requiring government disclosure in audited financial reports of a particular type of…
In August 2015, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) adopted Statement 77, requiring government disclosure in audited financial reports of a particular type of tax expenditure, tax abatements. GASB's reporting standards move tax abatements from a budgetary environment to an accounting environment. This paper evaluates GASB 77's provisions to encourage an early and on-going dialogue about the Statement's prospects for achieving greater transparency compared to existing tax expenditure reporting efforts. We conclude that GASB 77 will be most beneficial to consumers of financial information in medium and large jurisdictions where there is no alternative tax abatement disclosure platform, or where the alternative offers less transparency than what can be achieved through financial reporting.
Helisse Levine, Marc Fudge and Geoffrey Propheter
Rainy day stabilization funds (RDSFs) and local option sales taxes (LOSTs) are two strategies local governments deploy to combat fiscal stress. While the literature on…
Rainy day stabilization funds (RDSFs) and local option sales taxes (LOSTs) are two strategies local governments deploy to combat fiscal stress. While the literature on both is robust, it has thus far failed to consider empirically that the two may be connected. One way the marginal LOST dollar could be spent is by saving it for future use. We test the connection with a sample of 414 counties and correct for selection bias with the Heckman correction technique. We find that each $10 increase in LOST revenue per capita is associated with a $0.10 increase in undesignated general fund balance. Though small, the positive effect size supports the theory that LOSTs contribute to a greater propensity to save.
Jeremy Lee and Alexey Nikitkov
Consumption taxes are an integral part of government revenue in countries around the world and are often subject to consumer evasion. The rapid rise of electronic commerce…
Consumption taxes are an integral part of government revenue in countries around the world and are often subject to consumer evasion. The rapid rise of electronic commerce has exacerbated this problem as cross-border selling over the internet has enabled foreign businesses to sell and avoid collection and remittance of tax on their sales.
In this paper, we search for the solution to this problem through the analysis of three tax collection models: vendor, financial institution, and internet service provider (ISP). In addition, we examine administrative tools that enable more effective collection as well as inducements for taxpayers or collection agents to carry out their responsibility.
We conclude that the ISP collection model is not feasible at this time. On the other hand, we find that the vendor model, when supplemented with appropriate administrative tools and inducements, and the financial institution model, both represent viable options for policymakers to consider.