Bipartisan Bill Would End Federal Subsidies for Pro-Sports Stadiums

‘Using billions of federal taxpayer dollars to build private stadiums when we have real infrastructure needs in our country is not a good way to prioritize…’

Bipartisan Bill Would End Federal Subsidies for Pro Sports Stadiums

Photo by braveheartsports (CC) via Flickr

(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Professional-sports stadiums have been getting very generous tax breaks for more than two decades.

Now, a bill in the Senate would put that practice to rest.

Introduced by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Cory Booker, D-NJ, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act would do precisely what it says, closing a loophole in the tax code that lets professional sports teams build new stadiums with municipal bonds.

These bonds are exempt from federal taxes.

Lankford provided details of the bill in a press release.

“Oklahomans should not be responsible for subsidizing the construction of professional sports stadiums in New York, and New Yorkers should not be responsible for subsidizing sports stadiums in Oklahoma,” Lankford said.

“Using billions of federal taxpayer dollars to build private stadiums when we have real infrastructure needs in our country is not a good way to prioritize a limited amount of funds … we need to be responsible with taxpayer dollars.”

Lankford added that he was grateful to work in a bipartisan fashion with his Booker, who is among nearly two dozen candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for President.

The companion bill in the house is sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

While the bill would end federal subsidies for financing stadium, local governments would still be allowed to provide economic incentives to teams.

To that end, it would also free localities to build stadiums with taxes derived from tickets and in-stadium purchases—meaning only those who would benefit from the subsidies would be exposed to a tax.

It’s a bill that is likely to find support from both parties (even though similar 2017 legislation went nowhere).

But in Booker’s case, it’s very much unlikely to be the silver bullet that will make angry progressives support his presidential bid.