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June 16, 2004
Boston's 3-Ring Circus Over Budget

Washington's WTOP website carries an AP report that the Democratic National Convention is a whopping $5M over budget, with six weeks to go before the festivities begin:

The Democratic National Convention will be more than $5 million over budget due to increased construction costs and unexpected production expenses.

Construction on the FleetCenter sports arena, site of the event, began last week after a delay due to union protests and is slated to cost $13.9 million, up from an original estimate of $10.7 million, according to Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Peggy Wilhide. ...

Convention organizers also approved a $9.1 million production budget this week, up from a projected cost of $6 million. Much of the increase stems from higher-than-expected labor costs, Wilhide said, and other additional expenses that were not anticipated two years ago when the budget was planned. Labor costs are 50 percent higher in Boston than Los Angeles, where the Democratic convention was held in 2000, Wilhide said.

Labor supports the Democrats, although in this case it seems to be the other way around. One can only guess how they'll stick it to the Republicans. However, it's not the only reason that costs are going up. John Kerry's special requests have run up the bill, too:

Special requests made by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who has final say on what the convention looks like, have also added to the price tag. Among the requests by Kerry aides and party officials: two side podiums in addition to the main stage.

Apparently John Kerry already recognizes that the Dems' convention will be a three-ring circus and wants to embrace the concept. With the police and other city workers protesting for better pay and benefits, deep within Red State country, and with screamers such as Al Gore and Howard Dean chomping at the bit to hit those side podiums, we can all feel sure of being entertained.

By the way, the original cost estimate for the convention was $39.5M, putting the overrun at 12.7%. Is this how the Democrats plan to operate the budget process as well? One benefit: with this kind of deficit spending, John Kerry can't afford to postpone the acceptance of the nomination and risk losing the $15M in federal funding for the show. In fact, he may need to get George Bush to accept his nomination in Boston as well in order to close the funding gap. (Via Drudge, and yes, this is tongue-in-cheek; feel free to comment on current deficit spending, and save this post if the Republicans come in over budget too. I can handle a nyah-nyah-nyah now and again.)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 16, 2004 1:29 PM

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