Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced yesterday that they are seeking the help of an outside consultant to study the potential impact of hosting the Olympics in 2024. Here at The Bay State Examiner, we keep trying to ram home the point that if the Olympics come to the Commonwealth like the group Boston 2024 wants, it's going to cost taxpayers an arm and a leg. As it turns out, we won't even have to wait for Boston to win its bid to host the games before taxpayers have to cough up some dough; simply considering the possibility of hosting the Olympics is going to cost tax dollars.
According to a press release from the governor's office (emphasis added):
Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced today they are seeking a consultant to analyze the potential impacts of Boston hosting the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The leaders collaborated to publish a request for response (RFR) seeking independent analysis of Boston 2024’s plan, specifically the potential for costs, responsibilities, and potential risks of overruns, to be borne by state and local government.
“Hosting the summer games is an opportunity to showcase the Commonwealth on the world’s stage but it also requires careful consideration and serious analysis given the magnitude of the events,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “An outside analysis will help us determine the potential impact of the games and ensure Boston 2024’s plan will not unfairly burden taxpayers. I look forward to continue collaborating with legislative leaders to make sure taxpayers are protected.”
“I’m proud that Boston has garnered international recognition as the American nominee to host the Olympics,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Selecting an independent consultant will help us make sure we protect the public as we pursue this historic opportunity. I look forward to working with Governor Baker and Senate President Rosenberg in this effort.”
"Hiring outside experts will help us ensure that Massachusetts taxpayers will be protected against raids on the public treasury to subsidize the Olympics," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. "Hosting the Olympics is a great opportunity to put us on the world stage, but we can't afford a taxpayer funded subsidy for the privilege."
The Office of the Governor is soliciting the consultant with support from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to advise the Governor, Speaker, and Senate President.
Specifically, the request seeks assessment of the impacts of the proposed Boston 2024 Summer Olympic plan, including, but not limited to costs, potential revenues, local considerations, funding mechanisms, insurance requirements, protection of taxpayers, required infrastructure investments, and identification of potential responsibilities of the Commonwealth as they relate to the Boston 2024 Summer Olympic proposal and both the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) requirements.
The RFR will be published by the Governor’s office on CommBuys, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance’s online portal for government contracting, on Wednesday, March 25th. The administration expects to select a consultant near the end April and has capped the cost of a report due in July at $250,000.
The report, when it's done, could conclude that the Olympics will cost taxpayers and are a bad idea, but I find it a little ironic that tax dollars -- even if it's no more than a quarter of a million dollars -- will be spent to "protect" taxpayers from spending money on an event that the state has no obligation to host in the first place.