I recently learned that Gov. McDonnell has offered $4 million in state funds to the Washington Redskins organization to motivate their maintaining their headquarters and their training facility in Virginia.
I sent the governor the following response to this proposal, which I think will sum up my position on the subject.
The purpose of this letter is to take issue with a plan attributed to your office, per my understanding, to provide $4 million in Virginia state funds (variously characterized as an "investment" or "grant") to the Washington Redskins to relocate their training facilities to the Richmond area.
Several points I wish to make:
1) As a Virginia taxpayer, I don't personally care where the Redskins operate their training facility and I see no reason for the state to expend tax dollars to influence their decision.
2) As a Shenandoah County resident, I have even less interest in seeing my county neighbors' taxes funding something that will have no benefit to us (and be of dubious value to Richmond residents, for that matter).
3) I believe that Dan Snyder and the rest of the Redskins management are the last people to need of state financial help. Here in my county, I live on a gravel road that was slated for paving until the recent budget crunch. That road contains a bridge that is in desperate need of repair. I'm sure that there are many other such projects in the state that could use some or all of the $4 million that's been so generously offered to the Redskins.
4) I object in principle to government funding for private businesses with what amounts to a "free lunch." There are numerous examples of this happening in the past, and the majority of them, subjected to later analysis, provide no measurable benefit to the taxpayer.
In summary, I urge you to drop this idea, despite the apparent initial appeal it has had. The $4 million can be put to better use, especially during the current economic slowdown.
Does anyone else think that this is a dumb idea?