Wisdom from Master Yoda

Skip is back from the Kentucky Derby and points to an interesting position taken by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist on subsidizing the Nets move to Brooklyn.

According to Zimbalist, the city and state would spend $690 million on infrastructure improvements and other costs over the next 30 years. But that money is offset by the $1.5 billion in tax revenues from the project.

Zimbalist has long been an effective opponent of public subsidies to sports arenas, which is what makes this report so unusual. All this prompts Skip to ask, “Has Andrew Zimbalist Joined the Dark Side?” This reminds this Star Wars geek of some advice given by Master Yoda, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” While Zimbalist certainly is not going to use any mythical multipliers or other accounting tricks to generate his numbers I am very suspicious of estimates that show any net benefits from public subsidies to projects other than traditional public goods. I am particularly curious as to why NJ is unwilling to match this offer if it is such a cash cow.

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