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Olympic Budget Ban is Smoke and Mirrors


During the House budget session, Representatives killed on a voice vote the ballot language drafted by Falchuk's Citizens for a Say organization that would have prohibited tax dollars for the Olympics. Senator Bob Hedlund attempted to pass the same ballot language in the Senate and that was defeated, too. Instead, the Senate passed the amendment in the final budget, which merely requires the legislature to vote before appropriating money for the Olympics - which is just the normal course of business. It is absolutely not a ban.

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Massachusetts voters are going to weigh on Boston’s Olympic bid at some point.

It’s just not clear what, exactly, they’ll vote on. Or when. Or how. Read More

City Councilor Josh Zakim has proposed four non-binding questions in Massachusetts for this fall’s city elections.

They would ask whether Boston should host the Olympics, whether any public money should go toward doing so, whether the city should guarantee to cover any budgetary shortfalls should it host, and whether the city should use eminent domain powers as part of the hosting process (something Walsh says he would not do).

It still remains to be determined whether the questions will go to city voters.

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The Olympics as proposed is an extremely bad deal for everyone except for its promoters, other people who stand to benefit personally, and a global television audience. And the more that people look at it, especially if they look at some of the details, the more they don't want it. While Boston2024's original intentions undoubtedly were purely straightforward, it's become increasingly clear that now it is primarily land grab and tax flimflam, with the Olympics serving mostly as camouflage.

While I imagine that most of the leadership of Boston2024 won't mind if they get the bid, from what they have included in Version 2.0 -- and particularly from what they have chosen to leave out -- it appears that they have come to realize that, like Hudson Yards, they will probably make out a lot better without the nuisance of putting on the Olympics than with it, especially if Mayor Marty gives them the tax breaks that neither the Boston Finance Commission nor the Boston Municipal Research Bureau think are needful.

See page 34 of the Stadium plan (pdf) to see what they really want.

In a separate article today, Mayor Marty has said that he is willing to buy into Boston2024's Plan A, even to giving some "master developer" unnecessary tax breaks. I hope that he will decide to give this major development at least a fig leaf of open and straightforward democratic process.

With respect to marketing the Olympics, "you don't have to eat a whole egg to tell whether it is rotten."

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