Letter to the Gammers: Don’t Over Spend Our Money!

It looks like I’m a writer now. I mean, I’m writing for the general public on what I think are important issues, doing this for the sake of telling the world my thoughts. And yes, I’m doing it as a volunteer, and for some possible bonus marks for one of my classes. I thought that with all the hype going on with Vancouver this coming winter, a more sober look is needed with the Games. I think I lay out my concerns quite nicely here.

Current Opposition to the Olympic Games: Costs to the Taxpayer.

The media, such as CBC Radio in Vancouver, is busy with the 2010 Olympic
hype, but it is also allowing some voices to be heard who are in
opposition to it, mainly from the perspective of its costs and the
amount of taxes needed to pay for it. The Games could not have come a
worse time as the waning effects of the 2008 global meltdown are still
fresh in everyone minds. The worry is that with unemployment, market
uncertainty and huge government deficits growing, the Games may drive
government debt to unseen, or even unnecessary, levels never experienced
before.
Perhaps the greatest sense of opposition to the Olympic Games
are the cost associated with them such as the cost for the security and
policing, before and during the Games, which some estimates put them in
at over a billion dollars, according to CBC Radio in Vancouver on
November 2, 2009. With such a huge price tag, the government is
surely forced to dig deep into its pockets to pay for this. Ultimately
it is the taxpayer who will pay for this. This debt is going to be paid
through taxation, increases in the cost of services, user fees and
licensing, or met with reductions in government programs, but more than
likely all of these methods will be deployed at once to spread the
burden.
Added to this is the global down turn which is still gripping
the U.S., and is seriously effecting certain industries such as forestry
and tourism, areas of the economy that are vital to most of British
Columbia, according to CBC News. With unemployment still significantly
high in some regions of the province, the tax base is still weak causing
local governments to compound their debt loads to meet these
obligation.
The fear is that the money generated from the Olympic Games may
not be enough to balance the books and cover all the expenses that were
put into it after the event has finished. Based on information gathered
from past Games, almost all of these events have left past host cities
with debt that has either caused them to make drastic tax increases to
pay it down, or has stayed on the books for decades creating huge
deficits. An example of this is the thirty plus years that it took to
pay the $1.5 billion debt for the Olympic stadium in Montreal back in
1976, which CBC News announced back on December 19, 2006.
This then could be the greatest form of opposition to the games
from the perspective of those who live in British Columbia. Most would
welcome the Olympics, but for the property owners, workers and other
stakeholders, the burden of paying high taxes and leaving debt that
could be passed on to our grandchildren does raise some flags. Should we
be more prudent with our spending for what is essentially a two week
long party? The gamble here is that will the spin offs that are promised
by the Olympic Games be worth the risks that will give Vancouver and the
rest of the province a return on its investment.

Thomasso (Criminology)

This should, although I have not being told it has gone through final approval yet, be printed in the student paper at the University. I had some reservation about writing this becuase I know how much people really want the Games at their front door. I wanted to spell out that there is a down side, especially when the promised profits don’t appear, that we will being paying a huge prices as taxpayers to this debt. Am I anti-games? No, I’m a realist.

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