SportsProf

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The City of Philadelphia Should Give Up Its Luxury Boxes

Reports out of Philadelphia are that the city is facing a $1 billion budget shortfall. The city also has a significant underfunded pension liability. So, the city has been considering all sorts of budget cuts, including closing libraries.

But, so far, the city's luxury boxes at Citizen Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wachovia Center remain untouched. Apparently, at a cost of $500,000 per year, they're just doing too much good to give up.

Huh?

Daniel Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggests that the city does just that -- gives them up.

He's right, of course. How can you argue with that line item when the city is considering cutting basic services, including a reduction in the frequency of trash collection? Would you want to close a library at the expense of keeping luxury boxes? How do the luxury boxes replace a library that for some kids is the only quiet, totally safe place in their neighborhoods?

Now, I'm sure that the city puts some of the tickets to good use and gives them to people as rewards for achievement in the schools, as tributes to families of fallen police officers and the like. I think that the teams, themselves, could be relied upon for some sort of largesse that would fill that void. The city, itself, should cut the expense. That's 1/2 of 1% of what they're trying to save on costs, but it's a start.

The time for indulgences like this evaporated when the banking system had its heart attack in the fall of 2008. We're now immersed in a different reality, where everyone, and not just the millionaires next door, must live beneath his means.

Including a city known for making more than its share of mistakes with its spending habits.

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