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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DATELINE: March 16, 2016, Honolulu, Hawai`i
CONTACT: Kelsey Meehan, (808) 591-9193, kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org

Grassroot Cautions Legislature on Stadium & Pro Bowl Expenses

Watchdog group calls for more careful scrutiny of spending for events and renovations

HONOLULU, HAWAII–March 16, 2016–Today, the Grassroot Institute asked the Hawaii Legislature to take a more careful look at the costs and benefits of investing in significant upgrades to Aloha Stadium and large-scale sports events like the Pro Bowl. In comments on HB 1847 (establishing a Sports & Entertainment Authority) and HB 2229 (creating a task force to keep the Pro Bowl in Hawaii), the watchdog group pointed out a plethora of research showing the burden such plans can create for taxpayers.

Pointing to research from a Harvard urban planning professor and two independent economists who studied the effect of the Pro Bowl on Hawaii, Grassroot Institute demonstrated that an ambitious plan to renovate or rebuild Aloha Stadium could become a taxpayer boondoggle, and that statistics promoted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority claiming high tourism revenues from the Pro Bowl may be inflated. Stressing that the organization does not oppose the Pro Bowl in principle, the group urged legislators to require a rigorous and independent analysis of proposed construction projects or multi-million dollar subsidies for sports and entertainment.

“Research demonstrates that stadium projects can cost taxpayers billions in ‘obscured costs’ and that large scale, subsidized sporting events–from the Olympics to the World Cup–can end up being more of a burden on a city than a tourism boon,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute. “While we, like many other citizens of this state, hold the Pro Bowl in great affection, we cannot let that blind us to the need for a more rigorous analysis of its economic impact … and the impact of any large stadium rebuilding project.”

Dr. Akina continued: “Better analysis will also have a secondary benefit to our state in identifying the kinds of events that will help improve tourist revenues and attract new visitors. Before we rush into something that could become a taxpayer boondoggle, it’s only sensible that we start by questioning the underlying assumptions behind it.”

Grassroot Institute’s testimony can be viewed at:

Grassroot Testimony: HB 1847 (Relating to the Sports & Entertainment Authority)

http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2016/03/grassroot-testimony-hb-2229-relating-to-sports-2/
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelsey Meehan at (808) 591-9193 or email kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org.

About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us athttp://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
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About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.