Buffaloing the taxpayers: The public shouldn’t foot such a big bill for the Bills

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Buffalo Bills superfan Kathy Hochul, now governor of New York, got her priorities wrong when listing her goals for a new stadium deal for the profitable football franchise. She says she wanted to keep the team in town (actually, in the suburbs), wanted construction jobs created and wanted to protect taxpayers. Sorry, ma’am, as governor, your first obligation is always to the taxpayers, and this deal hit them deep in the wallet.

Hochul is putting New Yorkers on the hook for $850 million — $600 million from the state and $250 million from Erie County — toward a publicly owned facility to be used by a private outfit that’ll help make a fortune for a billionaire eight or nine times a year (plus a few more for the preseason and playoffs). It’s owner Terry Pegula, not Tom Taxpayer, who’ll pocket the cash from TV contracts and luxury box sales. The total public price tag is more than any sports venue in a long history of bad deals; it’s cold comfort that it’s tied for eighth on the all-time list when ranked by percentage of the tab the public swallows.

We get that Hochul has loved the team ever since high school when O.J. Simpson rushed for more than 2,000 yards in 1973. We appreciate that she suffered through four Marv Levy-Jim Kelly Super Bowl losses. We also know that the aging county-owned field opened in O.J.’s miracle year and needed replacing.

But this deal has nothing for a suffering downtown Buffalo. It’s a $1.4 billion outdoor stadium 20 minutes away that won’t host any conventions or boat shows because even during global warming, it still snows in Buffalo.

A good use of the public’s money? Buying an $850 million certificate of deposit, yielding 1% compound interest, would’ve netted $300 million over 30 years.

Albany’s books are black, stuffed with billions in non-recurring COVID aid and better-than-expected tax receipts. Hochul would blow a big chunk — and weaken her hand in resisting other big increases — on this fumble. Superfan indeed.