Senators aim to stop use of municipal funds to finance stadiums

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by oneMadRssn, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #1
    "Cory Booker, D-N.J., and James Lankford, R-Okla., are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit teams from using municipal bonds, whose interest is exempt from federal taxes, to help finance stadium construction."

    "A report in September by the Brookings Institution revealed that $3.2 billion in federal taxpayer money, through municipal bonds, has been used to fund 36 newly built or renovated sports stadiums since 2000. The largest federal subsidies, according to the report, include the New York Yankees ($431 million), the Chicago Bears ($205 million), the New York Mets ($185 million), the Cincinnati Bengals ($164 million) and the Indianapolis Colts ($163 million)."​
    http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id...bit-teams-using-municipal-bonds-fund-stadiums

    I think I actually support this. I'm a sports fan and all, but the typical "it benefits the surrounding area" argument never sounded reasonable to me as a justification for why private stadiums had to be built with public money. Lots of things benefit the surrounding area - grocery stores and pizza shops and furniture stores also benefit the surrounding area, but I don't see whose being subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars.

    It would be one thing if it was a truly public venue which was leased by a professional sports team from time to time, but which was also open to the public during off hours and which allowed the public to use for their minor purposes. But these private stadiums are never like that. They're privately operated, closed to the public nearly all the time, and using them for something else is usually prohibitively expensive.

    Also, glad Booker is working with a Republican on this.
     
  2. webbuzz macrumors 65816

    webbuzz

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    #2
    I am okay with this. Let the billionaire owners and leagues pony up the cash.
     
  3. ibookg409 Suspended

    ibookg409

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  4. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #4
    owners make Billions, players make millions and tax payers get the bill on top of paying for the tickets. nice scam.
     
  5. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #5
    I both agree and disagree, for the big issue here is "if it benefits".

    What I mean by that is if municipal funds are being used with this, then the municipality should also have just as much say in the use of the stadium as the private sponsors. Take the following example:

    A local school is having an outdoor high school graduation.. or even better, the State track meet is being held at the stadium... One of those two events were scheduled on the books for at least 9 months. However, a professional team who uses the stadium has scheduled an exhibition game or something similar, in which they want to use the stadium. No substitute venue is available for either event.​

    So whose event gets punked? The event for the schools, which were a school year in the making, or the professional team, whose audience will be bringing in revenue not only for the upkeep for the venue, but for that surrounding area?

    In most cases, the high school events get scrapped for the pros, even though that's a private entity and league, leaving no use of the venue for the municipality. So if the pros want it, they should pony it up. However, if the stadium is to benefit the municipality, the municipality can and should have equal use of the stadium as the pros, and have equal sway in rescheduling of the pro events as the pros have in rescheduling the local events.

    BL.
     
  6. TheHateMachine macrumors 6502a

    TheHateMachine

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    #6
    Good. Should have been a thing for a long time now.
     
  7. oneMadRssn thread starter macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #7
    There are a few cases where the municipality actually owns the stadium and makes a nice profit from it. In those cases, the sports team leases the space for the time of the games and practices, and other relevant events. But they usually don't have a right to just demand use at any time. In these cases, the stadiums are used for other public events like public shows, graduations, local school sports competitions, etc. I think Chicago is an example, though controversial for other reasons.

    If that were the use, fine. But I think in like 90% of cases, that is not how they do it.

    To be clear - this bill wouldn't prohibit municipalities from subsidizing stadiums by issuing bonds. Congress can't do that. But this bill will remove one of the main financial benefits to doing so, which is the federal tax exception for those bonds. Without that benefit, stadium owners would be just as well to fund using traditional bonds.
     
  8. webbuzz macrumors 65816

    webbuzz

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    #8
    I would assume that scheduling conflicts are rare, especially at the larger venues as mentioned in the OP, as well as smaller town venues. I do understand what you're saying.
     
  9. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #9
    In the North Ohio area, we built Gateway, which consists of Progressive Field (Indians) and Quicken Loans Arena (Cavs) roughly half with team owner funds and half with a sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol. It's worked out relatively well, although the sin tax ended up being extended to help pay for renovations of the facilities.

    I don't have much problem with the concept. It's a tax you more or less pay voluntarily. We heard some grumbling from beer-drinking non-sports fans, but not much.
     
  10. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #10
    I have nothing against this with the exception that it's not the position of the Federal government to tell municipalities how to spend their money.
     
  11. Zenithal macrumors 68040

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    #11
    Good. This should have been done years ago. Sad to see we're only seeing such a law now.
     
  12. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

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    #12
    It's federal tax dollars.
     
  13. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    Whatever happened to those "states rights" you guys talk about all the time ?
     
  14. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #14
    This isn't telling municipalities how to spend their money or really a matter of states' rights. All this bill does is make the interest earned on municipal bonds taxable if they're used to finance stadiums.
     
  15. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a

    DrewDaHilp1

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    #15
    Who pays the Federal taxes? Citizens of individual States. Why should a few municipalities in a few States take Federal tax dollars that was paid by all States?
     
  16. BeeGood macrumors 68000

    BeeGood

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    I'm really torn on this.

    I like the idea of making it harder for pro sports teams to get public financing at the tax payer's expense.

    But doing so means that the federal government is effectively telling municipalities which projects they should and should not be doing by raising the cost on the ones it doesn't like.

    I don't know. Pros and cons either way.
     
  17. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #17
    Seems to me the taxing of said bonds would be under the jurisdiction of said municipality not the federal government.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 13, 2017 ---
    Well lets just use this as a boilerplate to tell local governments what they can or cant do then.
     
  18. shinji macrumors 65816

    shinji

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    #18
    Municipal bonds are exempt from federal income tax, and states choose not to apply state income tax to their own bonds for obvious reasons. This bill would only apply federally.
     
  19. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

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    #19
    This is overreach by the Federal Government.
     
  20. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #20
    Bulldoze the stadiums and focus on building something that actually matters.
     
  21. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #21
    Like children who depend on lunch at school ?

    **cough**
     
  22. Zenithal macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Gonna agree with you here. I'm all for building buildings that further our people's education. Whether they're kids or adults. It's something some smaller European nations are doing.
     
  23. s2mikey macrumors 68020

    s2mikey

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    #23
    Well, that al sounds lovely except that were not a small Euro nation. Even though I hate that taxpayers often foot the bill for super rich sports team owners, just slapping up education buildings isnt exactly great either. Whos paying for that? Whats the actual benefit?
     
  24. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #24
    I don't think tax dollars should be used to fund stadiums. Typically these plans don't ever end up really benefiting the taxpayers.

    If you take a look at the stadium they just built in Hartford, CT (supported by Hartford taxpayers) you can see just how big of a mess things can behind. The project was over budget and behind schedule, the stadium wasn't completed by the deadline alllowing the baseball team that the stadium was built for (Hartford Yard Goats, formerly New Britain Rockcats) to pull out of the contract leaving a baseball stadium with no team to play in it. Huge fiasco, made worse by the fact taxpayer money supported the deal and that Hartford has massive social problems- poverty, violence, poor education, drugs, etc.

    The $55m estimate (now up to $71m and the entire complex has yet to be finished) could have gone a long way in helping the city's other problems. Hartford keeps spending zillions of dollars to try to get people in the city but it hasn't been particularly successful. If the city can recoup their money and make a profit- great, prove me wrong. But I suspect this place will end up costing even more money as problems with the old developer and their insurance still being are litigated, parts of the complex have yet to be completed, the FBI is investigating unpaid contractors, and widespread design and construction flaws are already deteriorating the structure + pose safety risks.
     
  25. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #25
    Pro teams use the new stadium threat as a bargaining chip for staying or leaving. They want the city to pay or they move to a city that will pay. This is the biggest issue. It's basically extortion.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2017 ---
    Dunkin' Donuts Park was a huge cluster from the start.
     

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