REFERENDUM 101



ARENA BENEFITS FOR NASSAU COUNTY:

  • 1500 construction jobs, 3000 permanent jobs.
  • $403 million in net profit for Nassau County.
  • New York Islanders stay on Long Island, Coliseum won't close. 

COST TO TAXPAYERS:
  • Office of Legislative Review projects net cost to be around $13.80 per year for the average homeowner. 

RIPPLE EFFECT OF A "NO" VOTE:
  • Loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the County, generated by the Islanders, concerts and shows that utilize the Coliseum. 
  • Nassau Coliseum will close, Islanders will leave by 2015 when Isles' lease runs out. 
  • Economic impact of Islanders' departure would hover around $243.3 million per year in lost revenue for Nassau County. 
  • Loss of more than 2600 jobs and $100 million in employment earnings.

MYTHS:

1. " $13.80? That's nonsense! I've heard it'll cost up to $58 per year, you're out of you're mind!"

*Much of this first answer based on an article at Lighthouse Hockey.

The $58 yearly cost assumes that County borrows $400 million and they don't get a single dollar in return, based on the $26 million annual debt service obligation for Nassau County. What this argument fails to mention, is that Charles Wang, regardless of how much (or how little) success the team has, is required to pay the county $14 million annually, once the new arena is built. 

That would lower the annual debt service obligation to $12 million annually, or $27 for the average household per year, again, assuming the new arena doesn't make a single dime worth of profit. 

If %11.5 of arena revenues exceed that $14 million mark, Wang is obligated to pay the county that amount instead. That would mean Wang would have to pay the County around $18.9 million, annually. That means, the County's annual debt service obligation would be lowered to $7 million. That'd amount to a $16 per year cost to the average household, once again, assuming that not a pretzel is sold.

And, the opposition does not take into account the tax revenue generated from arena sales and economic activity generated by the new arena (difficult to gauge even a potential amount), but nonetheless, something that would further lower those totals, and are projected by the County to save taxpayers yet another $5 annually. So now, the average taxpayer cost is down to as little as $11 per year. 

Throw in the minor league ballpark, which will generate further revenue, and that number can be even lower. 


2. "Who cares if the Islanders leave? And who needs the Coliseum?"

If the Islanders leave, millions of dollars in revenue would be lost and taxes will rise. For those who oppose this deal because of potential tax increases, they should be more concerned if the team leaves, because that would result in a higher tax rate than paying for the new arena would. 

These are trying economic times, there's absolutely no question about that. So, it's definitely understandable why people would be concerned with tax increases. 

Having said that, do you really think that ridding ourselves of the largest revenue-generating establishment in Nassau County is the best course of action for an economically-challenged area? Cutting thousands of jobs and losing all of that business is GOOD for economic improvement? 


3. "Something else will get built there, or someone else will step in and buy the Islanders/Coliseum, so I'm not concerned."

First of all, Nassau County owns the Coliseum, NOT Charles Wang. Let's just get that straight. 

Second of all, during these economic times, no one is stepping up to develop that property. No one is buying the Islanders for the purpose of keeping the team in an aging arena that doesn't allow them to properly compete or attract free agents. 

Also, the County has no interest in selling the land, so that's a non-starter. 

Bottom line is, even if something else does get built there, whether one of the local universities purchases the land, unless what you're building there generates the amount of revenue the property once did, the County still faces a loss. Basically, unless you're putting a professional sports franchise, concerts and shows there, you're not generating nearly enough revenue to make up for the economic losses to Nassau County. 

Nassau Community College may bring in tax revenue for the County, but the Islanders bring sales tax revenue from season tickets, single-game ticket sales, ticket package sales, parking, concessions, apparel, team store sales, etc. They also bring in corporate sponsorships and more business for the county, not to mention thousands of jobs. 

Tell me that there's a way to replace that? Tell me that NCC would put THOUSANDS of people to work on the Coliseum property alone. Tell me that whatever they do with that property would result in an increase of MILLIONS of dollars in revenue. 


4. "Why doesn't Wang pay for it himself? This is a private investment, let him pay for it what do I need to be involved for?"

Firstly, Nassau County owns the Coliseum, not Charles Wang. So, to ask someone to pay for something HE DOESN'T EVEN OWN is flat-out absurd.

Secondly, Wang's actually paying for between 60-100 percent of the costs, under his agreement with Nassau County. Assuming he pays only the minimum required amount ($14 million annually), he's still paying for 61.5% of it HIMSELF. 

And, as I mentioned above, if the 11.5 % of arena revenues exceed $14 million, Wang has to pay that amount instead. Under the projected revenue figures by Camoine and Associates, under realistic assumptions, that number would EXCEED the total cost, not only causing Wang to pay for the ENTIRE project himself, but actually allowing the County to turn a profit (in addition to fully-repaying the taxpayers).

Also, let's not forget: Wang DID offer to pay for the arena by himself, with the Lighthouse Project. That was shot-down, in today's economic times, developers aren't lining up at the door to re-start that project, because they can't afford it. It's not happening. 

It's not like taxpayers aren't benefiting from this. The new arena would generate lots of tax revenue and create thousands of new jobs. It also makes Nassau County a better place to live. This new arena benefits  YOU. 


5. "This is a real-estate deal. Wang's just getting a 'sweetheart deal' for the 77 acre site."

Under the agreement, Charles Wang actually has ZERO development rights to the property, which is exactly how much water this argument holds.


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Nassau County residents, don't be blinded by all the false misconceptions and numbers that these politicians are throwing at you. 


VOTE YES!!