The Oakland Raiders will soon move to Las Vegas – and one organization says taxpayers will pick up the tab for the team’s new stadium.
While Bank of America is giving Raiders owner Mark Davis a $650 million loan, the future home for the Raiders – the proposed $1.9 billion Las Vegas Stadium – involves $750 million in public money.
Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation says taxpayer subsidization of stadium projects is in the best interest of stadium and franchise owners, not taxpayers.
“The National Football League and our other major sports leagues in this country are not hurting for cash, and that’s especially true of the National Football League,” he says. “Entertainment is a product, football is a product – and it’s a great product. I love football, but I should pay for that, and those who are at the games or watching on TV are the ones that should be paying for that, not the taxpayers.”
Walczak stresses that building a sports stadium isn’t a government service or some sort of essential government program. “This is something that there are plenty of people in this country, myself included, are happy to pay to enjoy – and there’s no reason we should be forcing others to foot the bill,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Walczak says those holding out their hands are wealthy owners of sports teams who are making hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I believe that the League brought in $13 billion in revenue last year,” he continues. “If they want to upgrade stadiums, if they think that is in the best interest of the League and of the teams, then I think they can come up with a way to pay for that themselves [without] looking to the average taxpayer to foot the bill.”
NFL owners voted 31-1 in favor of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas. The owner of the Miami Dolphins was opposed.
“Miami actually really stands out here,” thinks Walczak. “He was the one vote against the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas, and it was partially out of concern about leaving Oakland – but significantly it was also the question of who should foot the bill.”
When the Dolphins expanded their stadium and rebuilt a few years ago, Walczak says they did so with private funding and they’ve made a point of that.
“It’s something that is more and more rare these days, and it’s something I think we should applaud when it happens,” he tells OneNewsNow.
It appears that concern about the taxpayers footing the bill for bigger and better stadiums is increasing, although there are more news outlets, websites, and blogs today. Still, will it make a difference going forward? Walczak thinks there is that chance.
“Taxes are a public trust,” he says. “We need taxes, we have to pay for local services, but we need to therefore make an important distinction about what we’re paying for with our tax dollars – and when we are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into an entertainment product, no matter how much we may like it, and whatever we may get out of having a local team, we need to ask, ‘Is that what tax dollars are for?'”
What about jobs? Won’t those be created by stadium projects, relocations, and expansion teams?
“An NFL team makes a lot of money and it does certainly employ some people, but … in the case of the Green Bay Packers – which is a good example because they’re publicly traded or publicly owned – they bring in less than $200 million,” he answers. “Now that’s not nothing, but you have a lot of companies out there that have more than $200 million in revenue and they’re not getting $750 million in local and state aid, nor should they.”
The new Raiders stadium is expected to be ready for the 2020 season.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.