Is a baseball stadium an economic bonanza for San Jose? Stadium supporters claim that it is - that San Jose will get 1000 jobs, $1.5 million in tax revenue, and $86.5 million in new direct spending as a result of a stadium. These claims come from the Economic Impact Analysis report released by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency in Sept., 2009. Unfortunately, this report and these claims are highly misleading. The benefits are exaggerated, the costs are glossed over, and more rewarding alternative uses of the Diridon site are not honestly evaluated.
The Economic Report includes a very deceptive analysis of a possible alternative development at the Diridon site, to conclude the baseball stadium is better. This false conclusion depends on a very simple trick. For the baseball analysis, the report includes spending from 5 major categories. For the alternate development, all but 1 category are declared difficult to estimate, and then are left out – the result is to use an estimate of $0 for each of these categories. This is obviously the most inaccurate estimate possible. When common sense estimates are applied, the result is that the alternative development will generate much more spending than baseball, growing to be 4 times as much annually. All other economic benefits are similarly larger. Read a full review of the Economic Analysis report here.
The stadium proposition has been compared to a parent telling a 9 year old: "I'll give you a shiny red new scooter now, or I'll pay for your college education when the time comes in 10 years. It's your choice".
We're not 9 years old. It is our choice.
We can do better, for ourselves and our children.