Home > Uncategorized > In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion – Bloomberg

In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion – Bloomberg

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

New York Giants fans will cheer on their team against the Dallas Cowboys at tonight’s National Football League opener in New Jersey. At tax time, they’ll help pay for the opponents’ $1.2 billion home field in Texas.

That’s because the 80,000-seat Cowboys Stadium was built partly using tax-free borrowing by the City of Arlington. The resulting subsidy comes out of the pockets of every American taxpayer, including Giants fans. The money doesn’t go directly to the Cowboys’ billionaire owner Jerry Jones. Rather, it lowers the cost of financing, giving his team the highest revenue in the NFL and making it the league’s most-valuable franchise.

“It’s part of the corruption of the federal tax system,” said James Runzheimer, 67, an Arlington lawyer who led opponents of public borrowing for the structure known locally as “Jerry’s World.” “It’s use of government funds to subsidize activity that the private sector can finance on its own.”

Jones is one of dozens of wealthy owners whose big-league teams benefit from millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Michael Jordan’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Bobcats basketball team plays in a municipal bond-financed stadium, the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the Democratic Party is meeting this week. The Republicans last week used Florida’s Tampa Bay Times Forum, also financed with tax-exempt debt. It is the home of hockey’s Lightning, owned by hedge-fund manager Jeffrey Vinik. None of the owners who responded would comment.

$4 Billion

Tax exemptions on interest paid by muni bonds that were issued for sports structures cost the U.S. Treasury $146 million a year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg on 2,700 securities. Over the life of the $17 billion of exempt debt issued to build stadiums since 1986, the last of which matures in 2047, taxpayer subsidies to bondholders will total $4 billion, the data show.

via In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion – Bloomberg.

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