So the U.S. House tax bill proposed finally eliminating tax-exempt bonds for sports stadiums three decades after Congress accidentally left in a loophole about it, and the Senate version of the bill didn’t have that provision, and who could possibly guess how the two would end up reconciled?
The bill keeps a provision that allows the use of tax-exempt bonds for stadium projects. It would have been eliminated under the House version. Since 2000, the federal government has subsidized sports stadiums to the tune of $3.7 billion, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution.
Yeah, as I was afraid of, the 31-year-old provision allowing federally subsidized tax-exempt bonds to be used for private sports stadiums so long as team owners jump through a few easy-to-jump-through hoops was revived by the House-Senate conference committee, surely not because any of them got any calls from any NFL lobbyists. This means that team owners will continue to be able to get lower interest rates on stadium bonds thanks to federal taxpayers footing the bill for the difference, which makes no damn sense but sports leagues like it so there you go.
A cynical mind would be tempted to speculate — did speculate already on Friday, in fact — that the whole House bill to crack down on stadium tax breaks was just red meat to throw to libertarian types in the GOP and anyone else who’s pissed off about sports subsidies, and House Republicans knew that their Senate counterparts would rescue them by eliminating the bill so they wouldn’t have to answer to an angry Roger Goodell. Regardless, looks like Mark Davis’s Las Vegas Raiders stadium bonds are safe — taxpayers in the rest of the U.S., hope you’ll enjoy your federal taxes helping to pay for Davis’s new home, because you’ll be doing so to the tune of $100 million.