Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, told a Congressional hearing Friday that if the city had not issued tax-exempt financing for the team’s new stadium, it would have left town.
“It’s been no secret for many years” that the team would move if it could not save tens of millions of dollars on financing with tax-free bonds, Levine told the House subcommittee on domestic policy. He added: “There was no shortage of suitors. We see ourselves as a paradigm in professional sports.”
Levine refused to be specific about the other suitors, but when asked after the hearing if New Jersey has wooed the Yankees in recent years he said, “Absolutely!”
The allure of New Jersey endured into 2006 — years after the team’s annual attendance reached three million and then four million. In June 2005, at a gala unveiling for designs of the new ballpark, Steinbrenner declared the team would stay in the Bronx. But at that time, the financing deal with the city had not been reached.Earlier this week the Federal tax officials ruled that they would "allow the Yankees and the Mets to issue a new round of city-issued tax-exempt bonds worth hundreds of millions of dollars for their new homes in the Bronx and Queens."
In early 2006, the city’s Economic Development Corporation recommended how to make the stadium project eligible for more than $900 million in tax-exempt financing.
In a memo to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Andrew Alper, then the E.D.C. president, said the likely result of not providing the tax-free bonds “was the loss of the New York Yankees.” Alper said the Meadowlands “could easily be reconfigured to accommodate a stadium for the relocation of a major league baseball franchise” and that the Yankees’ appeal would let them relocate “within the tri-state area, the country and even internationally.”
Critics of public subsidies for sports teams were dismayed by the long-awaited ruling. “This is the same kind of socialism for the rich, and capitalism for the rest of us that’s gotten us into the current economic mess,” said Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester.While this does seem like another case of the rich getting richer at the expense of the tax payer, I have to be honest, I'm no expert on this financial stuff, so I'll let those of you who know more about this than I do discuss it further. What I will say is that the last thing I'd want to see is the Yankees moving out of the Bronx, especially if that would have meant moving to Jersey. So based solely on that, I'm glad they got what they wanted.