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Legault must say no to new Bronfman baseball subsidy proposal

Author: 2021/12/07

QUEBEC CITY, QC: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Premier François Legault to reject billionaire Stephen Bronfman’s newly reported proposal to subsidize a part-time baseball franchise in Montreal.

“It’s clear why Bronfman preferred to negotiate behind closed doors: his project makes no sense,” said CTF Quebec Director Renaud Brossard. “It’ll take much more than a part-time team to get a good return on a billion-dollar project.”

La Presse is reporting that the project to bring back baseball and build a new stadium in Montreal, led by Bronfman, would cost a billion dollars. Bronfman is asking Quebec taxpayers for a financial contribution of “up to a few hundreds of millions of dollars.”

According to information obtained by La Presse, the government of Quebec is considering direct subsidies and so-called forgivable loans. Forgivable loans automatically transform into a subsidy if the project reaches certain objectives.

Under the proposal, Montreal would share a team with Tampa Bay and the team would play only half of its home games in Quebec.

Studies show 83 per cent of economists say subsidies for professional sports stadium are a net cost to taxpayers.

A literature review on the subject found economists are virtually unanimous on the fact that there’s no substantial proof that such subsidies lead to economic gains.

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

“Is Legault really hoping to find economic benefits where Nobel prize winning economists only see economic losses?” asks Brossard. “The government must say a clear ‘no’ and save taxpayers millions by refusing to put money into a new ballpark.”