GOP tax bill hits professional sports stadium bonds

GOP tax bill hits professional sports stadium bonds
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The House Republican plan to reform the nation's tax code contains a provision that would eliminate tax-exempt bonds for professional sports stadiums.

Under the proposal, which was unveiled Thursday, local governments would no longer be able to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance any facility that houses professional sports games, exhibitions or training for at least five days per year.

"Under the provision, interest to finance the construction of, or capital expenditures for, a professional sports stadium would be subject to Federal tax," reads the bill's provision.

Municipalities often use tax-exempt bonds for stadium construction in order to entice sports teams to remain in a city.

Axios reports that $13 billion worth of these tax-exempt bonds have been issued for stadium construction since 2000.


A study from the Brookings Institution in 2016 found that the federal government has lost $3.7 billion in tax revenue due to these bonds since 2000. According to Brookings, 35 stadiums have been built with the bonds.

Republicans have been eyeing the tax exemptions used by professional sports leagues for months. In September, Republican Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (Texas) filed a bill to end tax exemption for major sports leagues.

“Professional sports leagues should not be exempt from paying taxes,” Farenthold said at the time. “These are highly profitable businesses that make tens of millions of dollars each year and have been exploiting loopholes to game the system. It's time we blow the whistle on this foul, and get this bill over the goal line.”