The Las Cruces Sun-News has an article today about that city’s $26 million convention center. During the past year, the center hosted only six conventions and instead became taxpayer-financed competition for local businesses. Of course, the City’s leaders should have known better. Both Rio Grande Foundation and the national center-left Brookings Institute — to name just two organizations — have explained the many reasons not to pour taxpayer dollars into such facilities.
Which reminds me that upon his election as Mayor of Albuquerque, RJ Berry faced a decision as to whether or not to build a new taxpayer-financed convention and events center downtown. We all know now that he decided not to do this and instead has worked to rehabilitate the existing convention center. He also just got re-elected with 68% of the vote.
Avoiding dumb decisions is “the dog that doesn’t bark” in elections. Mayor Berry became a popular mayor in part by not wasting taxpayer dollars on expensive convention and events centers. Too bad the folks in Las Cruces weren’t more careful.