Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle TV reporter asked for feedback on a Sacramento Press article on the city's debt. This is that feedback.
Chris Daniels was a Seattle TV reporter those of us in Sacramento relied on pretty heavily early in the rumor mill process. He provided good, direct info on arena progress up north. But as the issue has become more squarely clear, he's been something like a Seattle booster in his reports. Which is understandable. I mean, we wouldn't like Nick Monacelli or Steve Large too much if they were making the pro-Seattle case down here, right? Daniels' masters aren't in Sacramento. They are the TV viewers of Seattle. And frankly, our city needs to avoid calling out other cities' TV reporters so long as stuff like this is happening.
You asked for it.
This is a nothingburger with respect to the arena proposal. The city's arena plan doesn't involve selling bonds or increasing the debt directly. What it would do is lease out the city's downtown parking facilities to a third party, who'd pay more than $200 million up front for the right to operate the parking facilities for a set period of time. The third party would then collect that money, which currently goes to the city. The upfront lease would help build the arena, sparking economic development downtown without incurring additional debt. It's expected that increased tax rolls -- property tax and sales tax -- would eventually replace the annual parking revenue. The city will also likely be able to redevelop the land Sleep Train Arena currently sits on. There are many ideas floating around for that area, and one of Kevin Johnson's closest allies on the City Council -- Angelique Ashby -- represents Natomas. Good things will happen there, and that's a good thing for the local economy.
Whether the arena happens or not has zero impact on the long-term debt of the city. Deciding to do or not to do the arena would not magically erase or grow any portion of the $2 billion in debt created by massive water infrastructure upgrades and pension payments. That's not how it works. If you want more feedback, I'd encourage you to look into Keynesian economics and the positive impacts of economic stimulus, which is something the arena could provide to Sacramento, particularly in a downtown core that has suffered quite a bit over the past decade.
You know, the city of Seattle and King County are in line to contribute $200 million to a Sodo arena. That seems like a topic far more relevant than the municipal debt of the city of Sacramento.