The City of Glendale, AZ has gotten itself into a mess. They have invested millions of taxpayer dollars in the constructing of Arena for a financially unstable NHL franchise – the Phoenix Coyotes – and yet find themselves struggling to keep the team in the city. A proposed deal with Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer would require the city to subsidize the purchase for an amount upwards of $100 million. While city officials claim that debt can be paid off through sale of bonds and revenue received from parking fees, Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute said:

“…preliminary analysis suggests new parking fees at the arena will not be enough to repay the additional debt, leaving taxpayers on the hook.”

Worse, taxpayers will also be on the hook for the unnecessary legal bills that will ensue if this financially suspect deal moves forward. The Arizona Supreme Court has previously ruled against such taxpayer giveaways and clearly the use of public funds to support the purchaser of a sports franchise would in all likelihood violate the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution.

In a letter sent to the Mayor and Councilmen of Glendale, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist had this to say:

“Last November voters sent a clear message that they want government to stop frivolous spending and instead focus on core functions…Gone are the days when taxpayers are willing or able to foot the bill for government spending on things like Woodstock museums, cowboy poetry festivals, bridges to nowhere, and NPR. I doubt anyone’s definition of core functions includes subsidizing the millionaire’s purchase of a hockey team.”

The City of Glendale has dug itself into a hole. The first step is to stop digging.


 A PDF of the complete letter is available here.