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Get nervous, team-owning robber barons

Could the end of tax-exempt bonds for pro stadiums be near?

Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium

The tax bill proposed by the House of Representatives Thursday (October 2nd) has one great feature: it would end the use of tax-exempt bonds issued to construct professional sports stadiums. The Joint Committee on Taxation said the repeal would boost federal revenue by $200 million over a decade.

"Interest to finance the construction of, or capital expenditures for, a professional sports stadium would be subject to federal tax," says the proposed bill. The use of tax-exempt bonds to finance stadiums for billionaire sports team owners has rightfully been called one of the worst examples of corporate welfare.

According to fieldofschemes.com, president Barack Obama unsuccessfully tried to end this welfare for the affluent in 2015, and one congressman tried a decade ago. Senators Cory Booker and James Lankford tried earlier this year; with President Trump having a battle with the National Football League, the measure may get through this time.

A study last year by the Brookings Institution concluded that the federal government has lost $3.7 billion in tax revenue since 2000 because of these bonds. "Axios reports that $13 billion worth of these tax-exempt bonds have been issued for stadium construction since 2000," according to thehill.com.

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Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium

The tax bill proposed by the House of Representatives Thursday (October 2nd) has one great feature: it would end the use of tax-exempt bonds issued to construct professional sports stadiums. The Joint Committee on Taxation said the repeal would boost federal revenue by $200 million over a decade.

"Interest to finance the construction of, or capital expenditures for, a professional sports stadium would be subject to federal tax," says the proposed bill. The use of tax-exempt bonds to finance stadiums for billionaire sports team owners has rightfully been called one of the worst examples of corporate welfare.

According to fieldofschemes.com, president Barack Obama unsuccessfully tried to end this welfare for the affluent in 2015, and one congressman tried a decade ago. Senators Cory Booker and James Lankford tried earlier this year; with President Trump having a battle with the National Football League, the measure may get through this time.

A study last year by the Brookings Institution concluded that the federal government has lost $3.7 billion in tax revenue since 2000 because of these bonds. "Axios reports that $13 billion worth of these tax-exempt bonds have been issued for stadium construction since 2000," according to thehill.com.

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14

"President Trump having a battle with the National Football League"

I imagine he gets along fine with the billionaires, it's the black players he doesn't like. For one thing, they're only millionaires, and then there's the 'knee' thing they do to protest murders of their black brothers.

Nov. 3, 2017

Regardless of the cause, it is nice to know that this president isn't in the pocket of the NFL. While it was seldom flaunted, the league had easy access to the prez for a very long time. Wonder how they pulled off so many things that were favorable for the sport? If you can buy Congress and the president, or at least have them favorably disposed to you, almost anything is possible.

Nov. 3, 2017

Visduh: African-American athletes have expressed opposition to going to the White House for a celebratory visit after a championship. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 3, 2017

swell: Trump attempted unsuccessfully to launch a pro football team in a new league. He lost big. Some think that has added to his animus against the league. (I am not disputing your assertion that Trump's aversion to players kneeling may have a racist tinge.) Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 3, 2017

I think everyone is missing one salient point.Trump's hatred of the NFL has nothing to do with action of player during the National Anthem. That's just his latest reactive outburst due to his lack of impulse control. His hatred goes back much further and runs much deeper than that. It starts with his complete failure in the USFL, after he bought the New Jersey Generals, and then his subsequent ruination of the league and the ensuing embarrassment. Then, of course, came the Great Insult of 2014 when his bid of $1billion cash wasn't enough to gain him ownership of the Buffalo Bills, losing out to a $1.4 billion bid by a gas tycoon who already owned several sports franchises, including an NHL team. Trump said at the time that he didn't get the team because he was not " going to do something totally stupid, maybe just a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid.'' Yeah, OK. I guess we all see how that philosophy is working out.

Nov. 4, 2017

danfogel: Yes, his disastrous (to pick a Trumpian word) ownership of a team in the USFL could be one factor in Trump's dislike of the NFL. However, the players kneeling for the anthem handed Trump a perfect dog whistle to tootle, sending a signal to the racists in his base. It also gave him an opportunity to claim that he is a patriot, perhaps widening his base. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 4, 2017

don bauder, I don't know that trumps mere ownership of the team is what was disastrous. He bought the team from one of the founders of the league and they were a good team, with some good players, most notably Doug Flutie and Herschel Walker, both Heisman winners, and Brian Sipe, then only a year or two removed from an NFL MVP season. No, What was disastrous was trumps's bullying of the other owners to play the 1986 season in the fall, going head to head against the NFL. Being the marketing genius that he thinks he is, he thought that move would force the NFL to consider the USFL a major rival and lead to a merger of the two leagues, much like the AFL-NFL merger. The reasons were simple; his prediction that the values of the USFL franchises would at least double, if not triple and, more importantly he would have more notoriety and, most importantly, garner the respect of the NFL owners. Remember who the owners in the NFL were at the time. Most of them were still the founders of the league and a lot wealthier than trump was, and from OLD money. I disagree with you on the current "feud" with the NFL. When Kaepernick first started this, trump did not give a sh!t. He is only using this now as a convenient outlet for his bigotry and ignorance in order to rile up his voter base. He is still angry at not being able to buy the Buffalo Bills. I would bet that the fact that he thought that $1.4 billion was way too much and the Bills are now valued at $1.6 billion pisses him off even more, because as he has told us repeatedly, he is a business genius.

Just my opinion.

Opinions vary.

Nov. 5, 2017

danfogel: I don't know that we are disagreeing at all. I agree that his pratfall with the USFL stirred up his hostility toward the NFL. But I also think that either he or Bannon thought that some players' kneeling for the anthem gave him a perfect avenue for riling up his racist base. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 5, 2017

don bauder, An interesting development in the trump/NFL saga:

http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-buffalo-bills-jon-bon-jovi-2017-10

I guess that the USFL fiasco mus have REALLY chapped trumps ass. Seems that more than 25 years later, he still carried a grudge, one that seemed to have morphed into an "I don't want it, but you can't have it either" tantrum, something reminiscent of what my daughter may have done when she was six years old. A grudge he still carries and something he still seems to be doing now. I don't care how much money he has and whether or not he is POTUS. He is still a petty, petulant little man who needs to be turned over someone's knee and have his ass whipped with a switch, and then be made to write on a blackboard 10,000 times:

I WILL NOT BE PETTY AND PETULANT AND WILL RESPECT OTHERS MORE THAN I RESPECT MYSELF.!!!

Just my opinion.

Opinions vary.

Nov. 6, 2017

danfogel: Good story on the Bills battle. I can disagree with you on only one point. You say that Trump is "petty and petulant." That is understating the situation. Three of my psychiatrist friends agree that he is a psychotic narcissist. Psychiatrists are beginning to speak up, realizing that this psychologically unbalanced man has access to the nuclear button.

In Nixon's final days in office, when he was drunk much of the time, two White House officials -- Kissinger and Schlesinger, I believe -- took the button away from him. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 6, 2017

don bauder, My wife was a psychologist. Back in 2000 when trump was running for the nomination in the reform party, I guess trying to do his Ross Perot impression, we had many conversations about him, as we did most of the other candidates Like most mental health professionals she didn't think it proper to give a diagnosis without actually examining him. At one point though, he did or said something, I don't remember what specifically, she changed her mind. She named a bunch of traits or characteristics he was displaying, you know the ones, same as those front and center right now, and said something to the effect that if she was to give a professional based on what she had observed, she would say he was a psychopath and explained how she had reasoned that out. All that language went right over my head, so I asked her to sum it up in words a dummy like me would understand. He response, in a perfect deadpan, was a classic. She thought for a couple of seconds and then said simply " He's a f*cking whack job". I guess she was right.

Just my opinion

Opinions vary.

Nov. 6, 2017

danfogel: She was right on both counts. After he boasted about his sexual conquests on Howard Stern's show, and boasted about the size of his sexual organ in the campaign, and then word came of how he bragged he could grab females by the p***y because he was a TV star, I thought he was finished. But women voted for him.

If "whack job" is the same as sociopath, and it is, she was right on the second count, too. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 8, 2017

If the bill passes it would raise an interesting issue for the SDSU West initiative stadium plan. SDSU almost certainly would plan to finance development of a new stadium with bonds. If it does so with a private partner as the initiative implies and/or designates the proposed stadium as a joint use stadium for SDSU football and a professional soccer team (which might be necessary to make the economics work), would it then fall into the proposed prohibition on using tax-free bonds to finance it?

Nov. 7, 2017

beernsports: It seems to me that it would. The football part would be nonprofit, and perhaps escape the ban on the tax-free bonds. However, the soccer team would be for-profit and certainly would not be able to use tax-free bonds.

The big question, however, is whether Trump's tax plan will pass, in whole or in part. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 8, 2017

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