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A The House that Taxes Built: the Ballpark at Arlington THE WINDUP During his campaign against Governor Ann Richards, Bush took every opportunity to remind voters of his participation in the Ballpark project. “When all those people in Austin say ‘He ain’t never done anything,’ well, this is it,” Bush told R. G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle in late 1993, as he walked around the stadium. Bush got into the Rangers deal in March 1989, when he helped arrange a syndicate that purchased the team for $89 million from Fort Worth oil man Eddie Chiles. Bush invested $600,000, which bought him a position as one of the two managing general partners of the Rangers’ organization, a job that paid him $200,000 per year. In addition to the money, of course, Bush brought other major assets to the table: his presidential name and Texas political influence. But Bush also had a huge incentive to raise the value and profitability of the Rangers franchise. According to a May 8, 1994 article published in the Houston Chronicle, under the terms of his agreement with the Rangers, once his partners recoup their investment, Bush’s share of the club will jump from less than 2 percent to more than 11 percent. The Rangers organization declined to confirm Bush’s current ownership percentage. Over the past few years, the value of the Rangers franchise has surged, in large part because of the lucrative arrangement the team made for the Ballpark at Arlington. After the stadium was completed in September of 1993, the value of the Rangers jumped from $106 million to $132 million, according to the annual assessment of major league sports franchises done by Financial World magazine. The magazine’s most recent valuation, in May of last year, put the fran chise’s value at $138 million. If Bush’s ownership is now 11 per cent, his share of the club is currently worth $15.18 million, a 25 fold return on his original investment in just eight years. The Rangers say they have not yet paid any dividends to the team’s twenty-nine owners. Thus, Bush’s stake in the club is likely still 1.8 percent, currently worth $2.48 milliona four-fold re turn on his original investment. The stadium deal came about because the Rangers were deter mined to get out of Arlington Stadium, a former minor league ballparkwhich had once been sufficient to lure them away from their old home of Washington, D.C., where they played as the Wash ington Senators. The Rangers owners began talking to other cities about the possibility of relocating the team in exchange for a new stadium. Eager to keep the team in Arlington, Mayor Richard Greene agreed in October of 1990 to a deal that included increasing the local sales tax by a half-cent. In January of 1991, Arlington vot ers approved the sales tax increasewhich will raise $135 million of IF BUSH’S OWNERSHIP IS NOW 11 PERCENT, HIS SHARE OF THE CLUB IS CURRENTLY WORTH $15.18 MILLION, A 25-FOLD RETURN ON HIS ORIGINAL INVESTMENT IN JUST EIGHT YEARS. MAY 9, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7