Arguments For and Against Proposition 2

Proposition 2 | Stadium Initiative

An initiative requiring voter approval of the cost, financing method, location, design, and size of certain sport stadium facility projects.

Argument in Favor of Proposition Two

Argument for "YES" requiring voter approval of major sport stadium facility projects, Proposition Two. 

It is critical to vote “YES” on the proposition to require a public vote for any major sport stadiums proposed by the City of Boise for the following reasons:

  1. Great Financial Risk. Before committing taxpayer dollars to a major sport stadium, qualified electors of the City should vote on such a project because the bottom line is that these types of projects are not financially viable and will have to be supported forever by taxpayer dollars.
  2. No Transparency. There has been no transparency in the past with regard to the various plans of the City and affiliated entities for a sport stadium. By requiring a public vote, it will require the City to fully explain the financial feasibility of a project and defend the reallocation of tax dollars from other necessary public services and projects to a sport stadium.
  3. No BSU Support for Stadium. Boise State University has looked at participating in a City sport stadium twice and rejected participation both times.
  4. History of Failed Public Stadiums. Other sport stadiums supported by cities have failed such as in Stockton, Hartford, Newark, Pearl, Arlington, and Miami. Closer to home, the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa has been unsuccessful and Nampa has had to pay millions of taxpayer dollars to keep the stadium afloat.
  5. City Sports Stadium Unnecessary. Boise has multiple sports venues and the city is growing quickly and will continue to develop in an appropriate way without tax dollars being committed for decades to a sports stadium project.
  6. Too Expensive. The proposed sport stadium will cost a minimum of $50 million and by the time construction commences, the costs will undoubtedly be much more than currently projected. Public financing of sport stadiums is now disfavored because of the financial drain it has put upon cities who committed vast public resources to their stadiums.
  7. No Public Benefit. A report prepared by Initiative on Global Markets at Chicago Booth concluded that the benefits of stadiums to cities are outweighed by the cost to the taxpayers who fund these projects.
  8. Who Really Benefits? The real estate developers who propose that cities build a sport stadium to enhance the value of their surrounding property should be required to fund the construction of a sport stadium themselves rather than rely upon public money.
  9. Boise’s Property Taxes Are Already Too High. Boise is already over taxed. Over 50% of the property in Boise is already off the tax rolls and there is no reason why tax dollars should be used to fund a sport stadium by taking funds from school districts, police, fire and other public service providers.

Rebuttal to Argument in Favor of Proposition Two

The proposed stadium will:

  • Revitalize the West End
  • Spur economic activity
  • Deliver a professional soccer team to Boise
  • Provide affordable, family-friendly entertainment
  • Strengthen community by bringing people together
  • Enhance Boise’s vibrancy and quality of life

Rather than seeking to give people a voice, opponents of the stadium are using distortions and fear tactics to block the creation of a great public amenity.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

  • Similar facilities thrive. Smart partnerships like the one that will be proposed in Boise are thriving in similar-sized cities like Louisville, Tulsa, and Fort Wayne. These projects rely on privately-funded companion development around their stadiums, which energizes whole neighborhoods.
  • Increased private investment. The stadium would bring more than $120 million in new, committed, privately funded, mixed-use development, including hundreds of new housing units, to the area. Opponents falsely suggest the public will pay for a $50 million stadium; the reality is the developer is paying for the majority of the facility. Public investment in the project will produce substantial returns and benefits.
  • No taxes increased. No essential city services or programs will be impacted by the stadium project, and taxpayers’ property taxes will not increase as a result of the project.
  • Successful teams. An independent consultant studied teams that play in ballparks built since 1995. 97% of the teams are still successfully operating. The Boise Hawks have a loyal fan base, and attendance has increased significantly each of the last four years; professional soccer games (Basque Friendly, Portland Timbers) have drawn huge crowds here.

Argument Against Proposition Two

Proposition 2 needs your "NO" vote.

  • Proposition 2 is INVALID. The Idaho Supreme Court has held that municipal initiative proposals that are in conflict with a comprehensive statute are invalid. This proposal would conflict with the Boise City Council’s statutory authority in two ways:
    • First, the Idaho Legislature already established a statutory budget process for cities, and the Idaho Supreme Court has held that initiative proposals are not the proper means to change budgetary processes or authority.
    • Second, the Idaho Legislature gave specific authority to city councils to make decisions about conveying city-owned real property; this proposa directly contradicts that statutory authority by requiring a popular vote for the city to convey real property, rather than relying on the City Council, as provided in state statute.
  • Proposition 2 is EXPENSIVE. The Idaho Supreme Court has held that a proposed initiative measure cannot be challenged in court until after it is adopted. Even though this proposal ultimately will be challenged and likely struck down in court due to it contradicting state code and being overly broad, the taxpayers must foot the bill for an election before a court can review it. A “no” vote on this proposal will save taxpayers’ money.
  • Proposition 2 is OVERBROAD. This proposal prohibits even private development of a “major sport stadium facility project” unless it is successful in a public vote.
    The proposal would require a public vote on every “major sport stadium facility project.” The problem is that the proposal defines “major sport stadium facility project” as “any sport stadium facility project reasonably expected to require public and/or private costs and/or expenses totaling not less than five million dollars.”
    Proponents may claim that their proposal only prohibits Boise from contributing to the development of a major sport stadium facility project, but that is not how the proposal reads. The proposal also includes language that would prohibit city employees from working on “any aspect” of a major stadium facility project, including one that is entirely privately financed. Even a privately financed major stadium facility project must obtain zoning approvals, building permits, certificates of occupancy, and inspections from Boise. This proposal would prohibit city employees from doing this work for a privately funded stadium facility project, unless the project received the approval of a majority of voters in an election.
  • Proposition 2 is UNNECESSARY. Proponents of this proposal argue that it will increase public involvement in the process. The proponents fail to mention, though, that many opportunities for public involvement (e.g., neighborhood meetings, Planning and Zoning hearings, City Council meetings) already exist, without incurring the significant extra costs associated with the invalid, overbroad, and poorly written proposal.
  • Proposition 2 is POORLY WRITTEN. Poorly crafted phrasing and terminology contribute to the proposal’s invalidity, overbreadth, and ineffectiveness. If this proposal is approved by a majority of voters it will become an ordinance, leaving Boise residents and officials to attempt to comply with a poorly written law.

PLEASE VOTE “NO” ON PROPOSITION 2.


Rebuttal to Argument Against Proposition Two

  1. Proposition 2 is Valid and Necessary. A public vote “for or against” taxpayer financed stadiums is NOT unconstitutional or against Idaho law. Initiatives are specifically allowed under Idaho law and are a vital part of our checks-and-balances democratic process. The question must be asked why certain publicly elected officials and private developers are so opposed to allowing the public to have a voice in these important financial decisions. The proposed use of taxpayer funds to construct multimillion-dollar sports stadiums for private baseball and soccer teams owned by real estate developers is exactly why we need the initiative process.
  2. Proposition 2 Is Not Expensive. Expensive, however, is the use of taxpayer funds for the construction of sports stadiums for private sports teams and their maintenance for years into the future at public expense. That is expensive.
  3. Proposition 2 Is Not Overbroad. Proposition 2 requires a public vote for the use of taxpayer funds for public or private sports stadiums. Taxpayers need to have a voice in that decision.
  4. Proposition 2 Is Very Necessary. The lack of transparency by the City of Boise in promoting a publicly funded stadium makes it vital that the public have a voice in how taxpayer funds are spent on multi-million-dollar sports palaces.

Please Vote “Yes” on Proposition 2.

YES on Prop TwoNO on Prop Two
Boise Working Together, Inc.
P.O. Box 7082
Boise, Idaho 83707

Adelia Simplot, President
Richard Llewellyn, Committee Chair
Joshua Leonard
Geoff Wardle
PO Box 639
Boise, Idaho 83701

Contact Information

City of Boise Office of the City Clerk
150 N. Capitol Blvd
PO Box 500, Boise, ID 83702
(208) 972-8150
TTY: (800) 377-3529

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