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Paying for the Bills

Developer Rocco Termini has an interesting article today on the News' editorial page, pitching a plan to finance the $200 million or so it will take to finance the improvements the Buffalo Bills want at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The linchpin of Termini's plan is to take the roughly $13 million in payroll taxes that the Bills pay each year and setting it aside to pay off the bonds that will be issued to pay for the stadium improvements. By Termini's calculations, setting those tax payments aside over a 15-year period (assuming the Bills sign a 15-year lease) would cover about three-quarters ($150 million) of the improvement costs.

The second part of Termini's plan is to sell the naming rights on Ralph Wilson stadium and use those proceeds to pay off more of the stadium improvement debt. If those rights sell for $4 million a year, that would provide enough money to pay off another $45 million of the stadium debt (plus interest at 4 percent a year).

Selling the naming rights would be a blow to Bills owner Ralph Wilson's ego, but it's the least the Bills owner can do if he's trying to shake down the state and the Buffalo Niagara region for $200 million in upgrades. It's always run pretty hollow that Wilson has complained about how limiting the Buffalo market is financially, while leaving several million dollars a year on the table so he can have a stadium named after himself.

Put those two together, and you've managed to finance $195 million of the $200 million in upgade costs, Termini argues.

Does Termini's proposal have a chance. Probably not. It's too simple and it makes too much sense. But it sure is an interesting thought.

- David Robinson



Economic Development | Sports
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