Congress restores sports bond tax break, now every American can help pay for Raiders stadium

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.

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5 comments on “Congress restores sports bond tax break, now every American can help pay for Raiders stadium

  1. Yup, also whatever savings the poor & middle class might have enjoyed will expire after Trump’s reelection year. Perhaps fans should boycott the NFL forever or at least join the players.

  2. There are about 500 billionaires in the US. About 100 of them own major league sports teams. Did anyone really think a law benefiting 100 billionaires was going to actually go away?

  3. It’s hard to think of a more deserving recipient of our money than Mark Davis. I had visions of the poor fellow peddling Raiders paraphernalia on the street, trying somehow to come up with a few more dollars for the final gold-plated doorknob to his palace.

  4. Although the tax provision was dropped (probably to secure Dean Heller’s yes vote), the reality is Congress came as close to repealing the sports tax break as they have in years, so I suspect that sooner or later it will be repealed. What is important to note, is that the tax break is NOT just about the Raiders, but helping the Texas Rangers (Arlington has not issued Bonds for their New Stadium yet), the New York Islanders and likely a few other teams (Soccer Stadiums come to mind (anyone want to bet the BOTH the Islanders and NYCFC BOTH start construction on new Stadiums instead of either or @ Belmont Park?). In other words? Lots more Taxpayer Bailouts coming for sports teams in 2018.

    1. Agreed. Tax exempt bonds for stadiums are the walking dead. The feds are closing the loopholes on SALT, mortgage interest, “donations” for primo college football & basketball seats and just about anything else that corporate kiss-asses enjoy. I love it.

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