WAMs Strike Again – Allentown Gets Hockey Rink

Despite the numerous studies concluding subsidized sport arenas provide little to no overall economic benefits to communities – Allentown is getting a minor league hockey rink built with at least $10 million of taxpayer dollars.

This “WAM” appears to be for Sen. Patrick Browne, R-Lehigh, and Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-Lehigh. Democracy Rising PA reports that the funding for the hockey rink is tucked away under a DCED program Neighborhood Improvement Zone; a program so narrowly defined that only Allentown meets the requirements to receive money.

Previous talks about financing the hockey rink included a Tax Incremental Financing District and an amusement tax; both of which ignore the reality that subsidized stadiums do not translate into increased tax revenues. It is forcing taxpayers to fund and bear the risk of a hockey rink that should be left up to a private firm willing to bear the consequences of financial speculation.