Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Raw Deal between Publically-Built Stadiums and Taxpayers

While I have touched on the way taxpayers get the wrong end of the deal when it comes to stadiums financed by municipalities, I tend to focus more on the claims of economic and urban development. To add another dimension of the debate against publically-financed stadiums, Bloomberg published an article detailing the way federal tax dollars are shifted away from the general revenue fund and into the owner's pockets.

I highly recommend the read, even though it is a bit longer. Essentially, cities "own" the stadiums and can finance them with tax-exempt bonds but the owner uses the stadium for free, keeps most-to-all of the revenue, and the treasury misses out of the funds they would have otherwise seen. These bonds were meant for true public uses, like schools or roads, but have been corrupted for gain by the privileged few who can afford to own teams.

As a contrast, Bloomberg offered up Cowboys Stadium, which opened in 2009 and cost $1.2 billion, to the home of the Giants, MetLife Stadium, which opened this year at a cost of $1.6 billion. The local venue used $350 million in public bonds, to be paid for in local taxes. The New York version was completely financed by the private sector.

I won't go into any more, because I don't want to steal the thunder of the article, as well as the authors are able to concisely detail the financials better than I could.

Ultimately, it feels like I am beating a dead horse here. As I have stated many times, I have yet to see an independent analysis that states how stadiums are a great deal for anyone but the owners. This is just another drop in that bucket.

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