Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Suggestion for Bucks Arena Coverage

There are a few must-follow sites for Bucks fans (in addition to this humble blog, of course).  ESPN has the best overall NBA coverage on the web.  Haralabos Voulgaris's twitter page is the place to find chatter from a famous(ly successful) NBA gambler who possesses the rare ability to understand both statistical analysis and the game of basketball.  (Yes, that was a low blow aimed at several bloggers, ESPN insiders and Grantland writers.)  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bucks section is essential for local perspective and Racine Journal-Times sportswriter Gery Woelfel's twitter feed has been a source of breaking Bucks news.

A fifth essential site has now emerged: Field of Schemes as a place to follow the Bucks' quest for tax-funded arena contributions.  The FoS blog is run by Neil de Mause (a Brooklyn-based writer for the Village Voice, Sports on Earth and other publications).  de Mause is a liberal, but as with Voulgaris's affection for statistics, he offers a great balance.  de Mause supports the standard liberal point-of-view that shines skepticism on growth-targeted government policy.  That means that the cutting of marginal tax rates, the elimination of capital gains taxes, tax credits for film production and tax contributions towards sports stadiums are looked upon with jaundice.  de Mause also, however, analyzes sports stadium funding with an even hand.  For example, he acknowledges that the substitution effect has limits.  (To be clear, if the substitution effect were 100%, then tax subsidies for a new Bucks arena would make 0% economic sense.  It would mean that any economic growth resulting from a new arena would be the result of a drop in economic activity from some surrounding area.  Or, to put it in simpler terms, a 100% substitution effect would mean that if Yours Truly spends an extra $25 on a Bucks ticket, then $25 less is getting spent at The Highbury.)

Field of Schemes has a whole slew of Bucks-related postings over the years, including an article today on the NBA's requirement that new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens offer to sell the Bucks back to the NBA in three years if no arena deal is made.

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