The Steelers deal: Shhhhhh! Secret!
The Pittsburgh Steelers are cashing in on a credit — part of the franchise's original lease deal — allowing them to avoid a $25 million rent payment on Heinz Field for the first 10 years of operations. The team supposedly met offsetting tax revenue minimums.
But there's all manner of hinkiness involved.
Taxpayers footed most of the bill for the new $281 million North Shore stadium, including a $75 million “grant” from the state. But the Steelers' lease (as does the Pittsburgh Pirates' for PNC Park) forgives repayment if tax revenues generated by the facility exceed that $25 million. Well, not exactly.
The $25 million threshold is satisfied by multiplying actual tax revenues by 7.5, a multiplier that one sports economist calls “outrageous” and “egregious.”
Additionally, state officials and the Steelers won't release the “baseline” number to which the multiplier was applied. The former cite tax confidentiality laws. Convenient, eh?
In the new debate over whether the public should be on the hook for a nearly $40 million Heinz Field expansion, the Steelers claim to have generated $100 million for local and state governments. Is that a real number? Is that the “multiplier” number? And if the information is so confidential, so proprietary, why did the Steelers throw it out? And shouldn't that disclosure lead to opening the ledger for a full and public accounting?
Public facility. Public money. Shhhhhh! Secret! The public be damned. Again.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.