Paying more at 'The Rock', Michael Vick prison sentence

Behind The News
December 10, 2007 1:30:31 PM PST
It's supposed to be a centerpiece -- THE centerpiece? - to the hoped-for redevelopment of Newark. And sure enough the reviews of the new Prudential Center arena -- aka The Rock -- have been pretty good. Even a biting review by an ESPN hockey commentator, warning that fans should be careful when they go there, turned into something positive. The reporter came back last week and ate crow and apologized and discovered that, hey, it's not as bad as people think.

So far so good.

But now comes what I call the Lucy-pulling-the-football-away-from-Charlie-Brown-moment. State legislators in New Jersey are beginning to see The Rock as The Cash Cow.

A State Senate committee today voted to slap a 5% ticket tax on all events at The Cash Cow, er, I mean The Rock. And the bill seems fast-tracked to passing; it was introduced only two weeks ago.

Separately, the committee postponed considering slapping a 7% surcharge on parking for arena events. Apparently they don't want to pile on the taxes too fast. But it's telling that the parking tax was deferred, not tabled for good.

Ostensibly, the extra money will be used to offset traffic control and security costs.

So is this an "oh-by-the-way" well-planned afterthought? Tonight at 11, we're going to delve into this issue, and get reaction from fans.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports, including the fallout from the nearly two-year prison sentence handed out to pro football quarterback Michael Vick today.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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