Should the Federal government be subsidizing NFL stadiums?

Should the Federal government be subsidizing NFL stadiums?

The NFL has kicked off their season with some exciting games. Nowhere is there more pressure than in San Diego and Oakland as they continue to look for options for new stadiums. The question is not only where they might land, but who pays for it?

Brookings just released a report on why the Federal government should stop spending billions in tax breaks to help fund these construction projects. Many stadiums are financed, in part, by tax-exempt municipal bonds, of which the interest on these bonds is exempt from Federal taxes. The Brookings report, “Tax-exempt municipal bonds and the financing of professional sports stadiums", details their argument that this subsidized financing is unfair and favors the wealthy. If you add in the other major professional sports leagues, since 2000 the resulting loss to the Federal government is larger than $3.7 billion.

The counter argument of course is that NFL and sports stadiums’ benefit taxpayers and local economies. Of course, how this helps residents of Wyoming and Alaska, that do not have stadiums and professional sports teams can be debated. But construction jobs, hotel and restaurant bookings, TV contracts, etc. provide sources of payroll and corporate taxes.

Take a look at the Brookings report to guide your own opinion.

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