To the Editor,
In recently concluded, secretive negotiations, the NFL’s Buffalo Bills franchise was gifted an astounding $850 million from the taxpayers of New York state in order to build a new stadium. How many hospitals, schools and mental health facilities could have been constructed with this extravagant sum? How much progress towards generating renewable, clean energy could have been achieved with these funds? How many crumbling roads and bridges could have been rehabilitated? We, the taxpayers, will never know.
The Bills and the state contend that in view of the cost of renovating the old stadium, which they pegged at $862 million, a new stadium was in order. Yet, a licensed engineer hired by the Investigative Post reviewed county and state studies, and concluded that the renovations would cost as little as $123 million. Another reason to reject this latest example of “corporate welfare” is economic research that has found that sports stadiums have rarely had a substantial impact on overall economic growth. In other words, the taxpayer gets swindled and the team owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, who have a personal fortune of $5.8 billion, increase their already bloated bottom line.
This shameless misuse of public funds must be halted. The Legislature must approve the governor’s budget and if enough pressure is applied to its members this giveaway can be blocked. I urge readers to contact their representatives in Albany and express their disgust with this glaring misappropriation of public funds.