It's that time of year again. The time of year when we all find out that the state can't afford to make its contractually obligated payments to the Saints and the Hornets. What else is new? It's already been mentioned very briefly here on Da Chronic but in New Orleans the $27.5 million shortfall has been one of the leading stories on the evening news the last few days. In a perfect world the state would have raised enough money from hotel/motel taxes to pay the two teams but thanks to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina tourism has been on the rebound for quite a while. So now the state needs some money before Benson and Shinn send their goons to break some knee caps, or worse, take our teams and leave.
Worry not, though. CSC has a few suggestions to help raise money and maybe make up at least part of the difference the state owes our beloved sports franchises.
- After giving up a nice chunk of change to land new defensive coordinator Double G Dubya perhaps Coach Payton is still feeling a little generous.
- Sign Hollis Thomas up for TV's The Biggest Loser. It's a win-win situation: Thomas gets in shape and the Saints get any of his prize earnings. If Hollis doesn't go willingly, tell him the grand prize is really a Spongebob Squarepants bedroom makeover
- Every time Bobby Hebert mumbles, stammers or stutters during WWL's afternoon radio show, Sports Talk, he must drop a dollar into a collection jar. The financial gap should narrow significantly in no time.
- Bring Rick Venturi in as financial coordinator. If he doesn't fix the situation, keep him a few years then bring in Gary Gibbs.
- Cancel SDT Waste & Debris Services French Quarter garbage contract...again...and put that money toward the state's shortcomings.
- Keep Mark Campbell on the roster but restructure his contract so he only receives half a years salary. That's more than he'll likely play so it's fair all around.
- Get the hush money back that Benson allegedly paid a Saintsation to keep her affair with Jim Haslett quiet.
- Ask former Congressman William Jefferson for a loan from his "freezer stash."
All joking aside, the Saints need to stay. They are New Orleans. And stay they will. So don't start freaking out about the possibility of Benson backing a truck up to the Superdome under cover of night and taking the Saints westward before daybreak (though that would be pretty impressive). The Saints are too beloved and too crucial to the New Orleans economy to leave. Neither the state nor the fans would allow that. Benson is rooted here as well with his new television station, remodeled Superdome and season-ticket waiting list. But, whether it's fair or not, Benson is owed his money and he will get it; it's only a question of where it will come from. More than likely, just as it did last year, it will come from the state's general fund. Inevitably, this will tick off some lawmakers who think that money could be better spent (they're probably right) but eventually they'll forget about it, focus on something else and allow us to watch our favorite football team in guilt-free peace. And until a new business model is designed or the New Orleans tourism economy begins to thrive, we will do this all over again next year.