Cosmo Garvin and the Sacramento News and Review have written the kind of deep analysis of the arena issue the city needs but hasn't received. He finds what anyone who has followed the sports extortion game would expect: Spending huge amounts of taxpayer dollars in giveaways to basketball arenas has little or no benefit to local economies. The outrageous claims of boosters "aren't real."
But the real news is that Kevin Johnson's team of hired liars have now essentially conceded that Garvin and the economic doubters are right.
They have released a new "study" making the usual bogus claims of the kind Garvin debunks. They say the arena will increase economic output in the region by $11.5 billion over 35 years.
Since this is the holiday season, let's be charitable and assume they are right. How big is $11.5 billion over 35 years?
The Sacramento metropolitan area had an output of $97.6 billion in 2012. If you assume economic growth at a nominal rate of 4 percent a year, the region will produce $8.2 trillion in total output over the next 35 years. Divide the claimed arena boost by total output and you find the claimed "incredible multiplier effect" from the arena would amount to only 0.0014 of the region's output over that 35 years.
How "incredible" is that? It is so tiny you need a microscope to see it. It is the economic equivalent of 11 hours in a year, or the length of two football fields on a drive from the State Capitol to Union Square in San Francisco. In other words, it is exactly what Cosmos Garvin's fine report shows: Arena subsidies bring little or no growth.
And now Kevin Johnson and his cronies have admitted it.