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07 July 2009

Oakland enforces Coliseum parking tax

In a textbook case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, the City of Oakland has chosen to enforce a long dormant 18.5% parking tax for all Coliseum events. Starting with the next A's homestand, parking will go up $2. Prepaid parking will not be affected.

East Bay Express scribe Robert Gammon points out that per the lease terms, the A's can deduct the tax from the team's lease payment. The payment gets split between the City and County evenly, which means that the County takes the hit. That has caused Alameda County to sue Oakland to prevent the tax collection.

In the grand scheme of things, this is really pushing pennies around. The A's only pay $750k this year and next, and around $1 million the following two years. $2 isn't exactly 18.5% percent, so the A's will be "covering" the remainder. Oakland's budget deficit had been estimated to be around $60 million for this fiscal year until massive cuts were made last week. Let's take a look at the numbers:
  • 42 games x 5,000 parking spaces x $2 = $420,000
  • $750,000 lease payment - $420,000 tax deduction = $330,000 new lease payment
  • Normal terms are $750,000 / 2 = $375,000 to City, $375,000 to County
  • $330,000 / 2 = $165,000 to City, $165,000 to County
  • City's final take is $420,000 + $165,000 = $585,000 (additional $210,000 revenue)
  • County's final take = $165,000 (loss of $210,000 in revenue)
Depending on how long the legal battle is, accrued fees could total $100,000 or more, cutting into revenue even further. And keep in mind that this money doesn't go directly into public services, it's there to service the combined $22 million in debt service and operating costs on the stadium. Since the tax is a perfectly legal part of the agreement, the City is perfectly within its rights to levy it. It can't make for a better working relationship among the three parties, however.

As far as the A's are concerned, it's roughly the same money going out. The tax will probably push some percentage of fans to either the BART lot or to use BART instead. Happy times, people!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm startting to feel like this is funding for a's and raiders stadiums.

J Canseco said...

The Oakland A's are cursed. Everything coming out of that organization reeks of incompetence. Even their fancy new HDTV feed is broken -- audio cutting out intermittently during games, on and off, on and off. For a team with such abysmal attendance to go and raise parking fees is a total joke, regardless of who is at fault.

Dan said...

Wow, maybe the A's will stay in Oakland. For $330,000 a year who could blame them.

Seriously though, WTH is going on with Oakland's city leadership? Have they lost all perspective on how to keep the A's. Parking taxes, ticket taxes, what's next a use fee for fans? They need to give up this half-assed charade that they actually want to keep the team. Because their actions all say otherwise at this point.

Dan said...

Canseco,
Don't blame the A's, they're not the ones raising the fees. Blame the Oakland city leadership. The A's can't be blamed for Oakland's leadership being incompetent.

As for the HDTV feed, blame Comcast, they're the ones who run both the A's and Giants TV deals not the teams.

Marine Layer said...

$210k wouldn't cover the feasibility study for one new stadium, let alone two.

Anonymous said...

This is BS. This obviously isn't gonna help the attendance. My suggestion is for people to do what I do, take BART. Or park in the coliseum bart station parking lot. But be careful it's kind of sketchy back there so lock your wheel with a BAR or something.

Transic said...

Of course, subjectivity comes into play when judging the competence of elected officials or governmental agencies but not figuring out the most effective way of levying a tax really takes the cake. If there's anything governments do and do well (of course, that word comes with a caveat) it is taxing people. The incompetence usually comes with how to spend the money.

This is laughable! They levy a tax and they get sued! If only regular people can figure out a way to do that...

FC said...

ML,

Couple of questions.

Are the numbers used in your example just for illustration purposes? I don't think 5000 spaces is a realistic number, when attendance is @ 10K. In addition, a large percentage of the 10K fans in attendance probably parked using a prepaid parking pass.

Second, based on the fact that this parking tax can be written off, wouldn't it in a way benefit the A's? The $2.00 lowers their lease payment, yet it's not coming out of their pocket. The $2.00 is coming from the fans in the form of higher parking rates. I think the A's are picking up something like $.78 of the 18.5% increase.

Am I missing something?

Marine Layer said...

It can't help the A's since some percentage of fans will go to Coliseum BART instead, take BART, or use the fee as an excuse not to come. In any case that's $15 lost for each car.

5000 per game is simply a guess for illustration.

Anonymous said...

It's like any increase in the cost of doing business: they get passed on to the customers. Now how the fans react to the new cost of parking remains to be seen. We might see more people carpool to games to better absorb the cost. Or take the train.

I'm just snickering at the fact that the A's can deduct the increased cost of parking from their rent. A consequence of the screw-job with the Raider deal back in the day? I'm not privy to the inside goings-on in Oakland but that would be my guess as to how that lease language got there. The fans pay. The team deducts. And the city gets sued. Baffling.

Anonymous said...

So when morons park in one space and use a second space for their tailgate party (where they don't pick up their own trash), do they have to pay twice?

Yet another reason why the Coliseum is a pit: the fans who attend games are dirty, abhorrent people to many others in society.

I love the A's, but other fans are half the reason I stay away from the stadium. They get drunk and act rude and boorish in public, they make a mess in the parking lot and in the stadium, they buy cheap tickets and try to sneak into better seats, etc.

Should I go on? I hate the Giants, but at least most of their fans are well-behaved public citizens. Of course, when you charge an arm-and-a-leg for tickets/parking/etc., only the wealthy people can show up.

Jesse said...

I know this isnt an open thread but, does anyone know when KTRB will phase in local programming?

Mike Headley said...

@ Anon 6:20

Your bubble must be a little tinted. You need to get out more and generalize less.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 6:20,

You are probably the most ignorant and naive baseball fan I've ever heard of complaining about A's fans. They take up two spots because there's so many extra spaces which is what makes tailgating so much fun at the Coliseum. I attend over 40 games a season and I'm definitely NOT dirty or an abhorrent person to the rest of society. I also buy cheap tickets and move to better seats almost all the time. I hate to be that guy, but another great thing about being able to get away with such things at the Coliseum. I do it cuz I get away with it, not because I'm an asshole. I'm just the smart one who will sit in great seats for $9 until we can get a new ballpark. And you better believe that if and when we get a new ballpark, I'll definitely be a regular season ticket holder and on top of that we most likely won't be able to tailgate in the new parking lot where ever that may be.

You need to re-state your facts and not make it sound like EVERY A's fan that goes to games is the way you indicate. Did a fan make you cry or something before??

reztips said...

Of course the City of Oakland knew that the A's would pass on a portion of the tax on to parking costs. Oakland Si and the other OAFC'ers who post here should note that this is just one more example that neither the Oakland politicians nor the city's residents (note polls taken by the Oakland Trib) give a fig whether the A's stay in their benighted, bankrupt in every way city...

Brian said...

But since the A's can deduct the tax money from their rent payments, it is not an increase in the cost of doing business for the A's. It is Oakland ripping off Alameda County (the half of the deducted rent that AC would have received). So why the parking fee increase, except to try to shift (or reinforce) blame for all the A's problems to the city?

Dan said...

Brian,
I had thought about that, one justification could be IF the A's do not deduct the tax from their rent payments. I can see them not deducting the payments to avoid pissing off Alameda County because Alameda County doesn't lose any money IF the A's keep the payments at the level they're currently at. Alameda County has been good to the A's and the team may still need that good relationship in the future if SJ fails and the A's chose to renew a search for a site in Alameda Co.

Plus from a purely PR perspective it's a great way for the A's to look like the hero (not robbing Alameda County) and the victim while also turning fans against the city of Oakland.

Of course this all supposes the A's do not reduce the rent payments as is their option.

LeAndre said...

ML,
Do you know the city taxation for other teams around the league, if there are any others?

Tax increase is always bad no matter what, but I'm not surprised its happened due to the economic state were in. I'm also having a hard time seeing how severe this is without comparing it to other cities and teams...just curious

Dan said...

Well this parking tax increase is really bad when you couple it with the fact the city AND state are considering implementing separate ticket taxes.

Anonymous said...

paid parking is probably more like 1500-2000 a game