Lawmakers introduce bill to eliminate subsidies for pro stadium construction

Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

House lawmakers have introduced a bill that will eliminate subsidies for the construction of professional sports stadiums.

In a statement on Tuesday, Democratic House Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.),  Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) and Don Beyer (Va.) introduced a bill that will end the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds that are used to finance professional sports stadiums. 

The proposed bill is called the “No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act of 2022.”

Since 2000, subsidies for financing professional sports stadiums have cost taxpayers $4.3 billion, despite the billions of dollars in profits that NFL clubs and other professional sports team owners reap each year, according to the statement. 

“The NFL has proven once again that it can’t play by the rules. As such, taxpayers-subsidized municipal bonds should no longer be a reward for the Washington Commanders and other teams that continue to operate workplaces that are dens of sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” Speier, a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement. 

“There is no reason why these teams — the average of which went up in value to $3.48 billion in 2021, according to Forbes — should have American taxpayers footing any of their bills. It doesn’t make economic sense, and it’s particularly galling given the league’s longstanding failure to address issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault as well as on-going racial and gender discrimination and domestic violence.”

The bill proposal comes as the NFL announced Friday that it has hired attorney Mary Jo White to lead a new investigation into claims that Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder sexually harassed a former employee, ESPN reported.  

During a House Oversight Committee roundtable discussion earlier this month, Tiffani Johnston accused Synder of sexually harassing her during a work-related dinner. 

Johnston, a former team cheerleader and marketing manager, is the first person to accuse Snyder of sexual harassment. 

Snyder, who has owned the D.C.-based football club for over 22 years, said in a previous statement that Johnston’s claims against him are “outright lies.”

“Super-rich sports team owners like Dan Snyder do not need federal support to build their stadiums, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund them,” Beyer said in a statement on the proposed legislation. “Billionaire owners who need cash can borrow from the market like any other business. Arguments that stadiums boost job creation have been repeatedly discredited. In a time when there is a debate over whether the country can ‘afford’ investments in health care, child care, education, or fighting climate change, it is ridiculous to even contemplate such a radical misuse of publicly subsidized bonds.”

The Hill has reached out to the NFL for comment.

Tags Billionaire owners Dan Snyder Earl Blumenauer Jackie Speier NFL NFL Washignton D.C. Washington Commanders
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