Other Voices

No new taxes? So why are we voting on ballpark?

Peggy Rudd and her husband Bill Gaut pass out flyers Aug. 12 against the proposed new ballpark for the Texas Rangers in Arlington.
Peggy Rudd and her husband Bill Gaut pass out flyers Aug. 12 against the proposed new ballpark for the Texas Rangers in Arlington. rmallison@star-telegram.com

Election Day is near, and in Arlington the Rangers ballpark referendum is being discussed possibly more than the presidential election.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board wrote about the referendum with the same rhetoric espoused by the Vote Yes! crowd.

Vote Yes! has used the editorial comments to give credence to the argument that an “independent study commissioned by the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau projected an annual economic impact of $77.5 million for the city…”

But University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson says, “If you want to inject money into the local economy, it would be better to drop it from a helicopter than invest in a new ballpark.”

Where is the economic development promised with the current stadium?

I suspect that Six Flags Over Texas attracts more visitors per year than do the Rangers.

Vote Yes! printed their version of the facts, and we counter with our own.

They say there would be no new taxes. Then why are we voting?

The new stadium would cost $1.1 billion, and the taxpayers would fund $500 billion plus $150 million for economic development.

The city may have a $3 parking tax, then add a 10 percent ticket tax, which the city may rebate to the Rangers owners.

That reduces their stadium cost to less than $250 million.

Vote Yes! says Dallas is trying to steal our Rangers, and the team will leave if Arlington does not build a new stadium.

We believe this is meant to generate fear so Arlington voters will vote yes.

On June 9, The Dallas Morning News reported that for the city “there is a significant gap between projected revenue and expenses in the coming year… That’s despite a hike in property taxes that has fallen heavily on Dallas’ middle class.”

Dallas’ sales tax is maxed; 8,000 wild dogs are loose; the city is home to the highest percentage of impoverished children of any major city in the nation; there’s a municipal pension fund problem; and the police chief resigned.

An Oct. 17 Star- Telegram report said a Rangers representative had early talks with Dallas officials about a new stadium.

The report said those talks were “serious but conceptual.”

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told the Star-Telegram the talks were “exploratory at best.”

He said a stadium would have been a tough sell to Dallas voters so many years before the current Rangers lease at Globe Life Park expires after the 2023 baseball season.

A Fort Worth spokesman told me there has been no contact between that city and the Texas Rangers regarding a new stadium.

Frisco voters rejected a school tax, and The Dallas Morning News reported that Frisco ISD “faces a financing conundrum.”

Where would the Rangers go?

Vote Yes! people say that the current ballpark will be “preserved and re-purposed.”

How do they know? If the referendum passes, we may give the debt-free $291 million Globe Life Park to the Rangers, who can demolish it if they like.

There are claims that an air-conditioned stadium means bigger crowds. But the new stadium would seat fewer fans.

Star-Telegram sports columnist Mac Engel wrote on Oct. 9 that “the only thing more embarrassing than the Texas Rangers’ performance in the first two games of the MLB playoffs has been the crowds … no one should blame Arlington, if, on voting day next month, its citizens tell the Rangers, ‘Find another sucker.’”

My sentiments exactly.

As individuals, my husband and I have walked about 500 miles and covered about 21,000 homes belonging to our fine hard-working neighbors in Arlington.

During our trek through this friendly city, we have heard the concerns of many Arlington residents.

Many feel betrayed by their city government.

It is our opinion that if a viable candidate challenges the current mayor in the next election, the mayor will lose.

Arlington voters, you have the power. Vote no on Nov. 8.

Peggy Rudd of Arlington and her husband, Bill Gaut, have conducted their own grassroots campaign against taxpayer funding for a new Rangers ballpark.