Stop Using Public Funding to Build Professional Sports Stadiums

LAstadium_scpr.orgjpg

Target: United States Congress

Goal: Stop allowing public funding to be used to build professional sports stadiums.

The NFL has consistently looted public funds to build lavish stadiums, consequently depleting community resources. Economists agree that funding granted to the NFL for stadiums benefits wealthy team owners while giving nothing back to the community. President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget will prohibit further tax-exempt bonds to be used to finance professional sports facilities. If Congress does not pass this proposal, upcoming projects, such as a new $1.7 billion football stadium in Los Angeles, will go through at the cost of the community.

Teams and elected officials claim professional sport facilities are good for local economies despite an overwhelming amount of economists’ informed analyses that show otherwise. A 2007 study in the Journal of Sports Economics found that professional teams moving into cities did “not have a positive economic impact on the local community.” On the contrary, they have been shown to cause budget problems and halt community projects. The Yankee Stadium in New York was built using over $1 billion in tax-free bonds, ripping hundreds of millions of dollars from public infrastructure, including a planned light rail stop.

Public money should not be spent on costly stadiums when the nation has a burgeoning homeless problem, lack of affordable housing, and non-viable public transportation. Urge Congress to put a stop to this damaging practice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United States Congress,

The practice of cities funding professional sports facilities with tax-exempt bonds has already cost the U.S. Treasury over a hundred million dollars. Tax-exempt bonds are supposed to be used for local infrastructure that benefits the community. The NFL is a private business, and the revenue from city-funded stadiums goes into the owners’ pockets. President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal would stop pouring these public funds into the hands of private businesses.

Economists agree that stadium subsidies show no economic benefit for the community and puts local residents and taxpayers at risk. According to the Treasury Department, barring the issuing of tax-exempt bonds for professional sports facilities will save the federal government $542 million dollars during the next decade.

The NFL is using cities as bargaining chips, threatening to leave them if they don’t provide them with an upgraded stadium. Some of these stadiums are rebuilt within 20 years, which is not a feasible infrastructure investment for anyone.

The current 2016 budget blueprint slashes $5 trillion in social, education and health programs over the next decade. As the community continues to lose access to education and healthcare, you must not keep allowing public funding to go into the hands of private businesses. Please bar the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: scpr.org

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