By: Dr. Lynn Reaser
ComicCon will shortly descend on San Diego, bringing in lots of tourist dollars with a burst of economic activity. Then, after the mega-event ends, we will go back to “normal”. San Diegans should ask how much we should pay and invest for these short-lived bonanzas.
While the impacts have been sizable, public funds should be used carefully. If public investments can support ongoing economic activity, generating offsetting revenues, they might be justified. However, spending large amounts to serve large but infrequent events may not meet a cost-benefit analysis, particularly when ComicCom may engage in bidding wars between cities and ultimately leave San Diego. If private companies, such as those in hospitality, find it profitable to make the necessary investments, they will do so.
It is all about trade-offs: Subsidies or investments to support ComicCon will mean fewer resources for other public investments (including street repairs) or less money for taxpayers to spend themselves. We need to make wise and prudent choices.