Friday, April 08, 2005

Convention Center Update

Back in January I put together this analysis of the whole convention center idea. At the time I contacted some people around the country in communities where they also were planning for new convention centers. Well, despite all the strong economic reasons NOT to build new convention centers, Erie County PA is going ahead with their plans. From our Erie Pa correspondent:

“They are going to build it any way. Not only that the county of erie is now financing bonds to guarantee a $48 mil dollar loan for the hotel. The state has changed the definition of convention center in Erie county pa to include the word hotel. This will allow them to use the new room tax county wide to subsidize the private hotel even more (at the expense of the other hotel owners). The state of pa is going to allow in lieu of a the business tax to use it for paying off debt. The state has provided $44 mil in a grant to construct the center itself. Last but not least the City of Erie is providing a sort of loan of $2.5 mil for start up cost. This comes from a reserve account , the City is facing a $6 mil shortfall in the current budget. This project also gets 13 years of local tax forgiveness. The parent Co. of the hotel has assets worth over $12 billion , the franchisee has assets of $ 2 billion. We got hosed.”

So, you might as well start getting prepared. You will pay higher taxes and the politicians, real estate developers and hotel corporations will get your money.