If Connecticut taxpayers are going to subsidize the world’s largest hedge fund, why shouldn’t we invest in a paint ball gun battle field?
Now don’t get me wrong…
I’m all for helping small businesses survive and grow in these difficult economic times.
Having owned a few of my own small businesses, I appreciate that they are the true engines of economic activity. Connecticut needs jobs and most jobs are created by small business.
In fact, the $115 million the taxpayers of Connecticut recently gave to the world’s biggest hedge fund (Bridgewater) would probably have created a lot more jobs if we’d have used those dollars to support hundreds of small business around the state.
And furthermore, let me be clear, I don’t have anything against paint guns and weekend warriors who go out there and blast each other with balls of paint, although I have heard it can hurt, if you hit someone in just the right (or wrong) place.
Why, back in the day, when I was a just a boy, we’d go down to the sandpit off of Brookside Lane, build some forts, and pelt each other with handmade mud or clay balls until enough kids were bleeding that it was time to go home.
But times change, this is the 21st century, so no self-respecting kid (or adult) is going to accept anything short of replicas of real guns, full battle gear and CO2 cartridges that propel pant ball at 300 feet (91 m) per second. (I don’t know how fast that is, but it sounds pretty damn impressive.)
But more importantly, Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development knows a good investment when it sees one. And so just last March, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, announced that one of the first businesses to qualify for the new $100 million, “Small Business Express Program,” would be Fields of Fire, a proposed 50-acre paintball facility in Mystic, Connecticut.
Fields of Fire received a $100,000 grant to help them buy the equipment and materials needed to create a full paintball battlefield.
Yes, you read it right, a grant, not a loan.
No need to pay the taxpayers back.
Count it as a donation toward Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” Tourism program.
Some people might quibble about why we’d fund a paintball battlefield, when we are laying off teachers and schools are going without supplies.
But those people clearly miss the point.
And some people might complain that we provided the money as a grant and not a low-interest loan.
But, then again, those are probably the same people who’d complain that the $100 million program proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature last October, is actually paid for out of bond funds (that is borrowed money.) This means that although the true cost to taxpayers is eventually principal AND interest, we’ve got a few decades to pay the money back, so it’s the best of all worlds. We get to use it facility now and our children will actually have to pay the bill.
And more good news, the facility is open and getting great reviews.
The cost to get into the paintball battlefield is $20 for admission, $20 for gun rental and $45 for paint balls (they come in cases of 2,000). Camo Jumpsuits and paint grenades are also available. And birthday parties start at just $400.
Unfortunately, the website doesn’t say whether taxpayers get a discount, considering we’re sort of like silent partners for the venture.
But I highly recommend you go to http://www.fieldsoffiremystic.com/, just make sure you have the sound turned up. Too low and you really lose the effect.
The only sad part of the whole story is that the website doesn’t have pictures of this governor, or any governor, rowing around in a canoe, or even ducking an in-coming paint grenade.