Taxpayer money should not be used on stadiums

It is a ridiculous waste of money to use tax funds to build stadiums for teams. Sports teams that make their own profit I might add. Any other business has to pay for its own facilities, why should sports teams be any different?

At the very least, voters should get a say. They’ve refused to put the stadium proposal to a vote in St. Louis, despite having a clear majority of citizens who say they oppose it. And, for that matter, despite having an NFL team that clearly states their desire to move to LA. If we’re not building this stadium for the citizens or the team, what the hell are we building it for? It’s not like the City of St. Louis has wads of cash burning a hole in its pocket. We’ll be in debt for at least a generation in order to pay for our share of the stadium. We’re still paying for the “old” stadium the Rams say isn’t good enough anymore! Seriously, why?? It makes no sense to me, even less sense than most political decisions.

Also, while I agree with you, I would take it farther. Eminent domain (and, it goes without saying, taxpayer money) should never be used to benefit private parties. If you must force citizens off their own land to build a public road or city hall or a park, that is regrettable but may be justified. It is simply not justified to use the force of government to hand someone’s private property over to Walmart, the NFL, or a new shopping mall.

Why stop at stadiums? No more government money spent on any stupid ideas. Of course that undermines our concept of democracy, but you can’t have everything.

Another possibility would be to have a league requirement that no team can relocate out of a city if there is any outstanding debt still owed on its facilities. If a city builds a stadium for a team, then the team would have to either commit to staying in the city until the stadium is paid off or have to pay off the city in order to be able to move.

If they want to build a city owned and operated sports facility, that might be okay, if the voters approve. If they want to hand out taxpayer money to an out of state billionaire for the hell of it, that’s a different story. Let him build his own stadium, where he wants to, with his own money. Because that’s what he’s going to do anyway.

And it doesn’t “undermine democracy” for a city to vote against government waste and corruption when they start handing out hundreds of millions in public money to their buddies. That’s actually kind of a basic criterion of democracy.

Can you name a case where unelected officials have made this determination? We elect our representatives, that’s when we vote. People really oughta think about what those crooks might do when they vote for them, but that’s another issue.

If having a sports stadium in a city benefits the city, why should the city not support it?

I get that we can disagree about how much benefit accrues, and how much support should be given. But a blanket opposition to any public funds going to any private sports team venue seems way over the top to me.

[ul][li]In general, they don’t[/li]

[li]Either the stadium needs subsidies, in which case it isn’t going to generate income overall for the city, or it doesn’t, in which case it doesn’t need subsidizing.[/li][li]Why should the average taxpayer be giving money to billionaires so that millionaires can play games? If it is a good investment, let the owners make it. If it is a risky investment, I need my money more than the owner does.[/li][li]Many of us care nothing about professional sports, and would rather spend their money on something other than a stadium. Subsidizing a stadium doesn’t allow me that choice.[/ul]In my area, they had a referendum on whether or not to spend public money on a new stadium. About two-thirds of the voters said No, they did not want to spend tax money on a new stadium. Did that stop the government from doing so anyway? What do you think?[/li]
Democrats do a lot of complaining about banks wanting to privatize profits and socialize costs. The NFL is making large profits - but they want the taxpayer to assume their risks.


I think it’s interesting when you are citing ThinkProgress in support of your arguments. :wink:

If it benefits the city, and the city pays for it, why should the city not own it? That could be a smart investment. I’m not against building stadiums per se. I’m against the mayor giving them away to their billionaire buddies for free.

They’re even giving the Rams tax rebates on ticket and concession sales. So the city won’t make a dime on this deal. They’re spending $300,000,000 of taxpayer money on “pride”, whatever the hell that means.

Because it’s harder for the SDMB to hand-wave it away.


“Pride” is being used in the WW1 sense of the word, which is “Do something stupid for my benefit.”

Really I think this is the only hoenst answer.

Look, sports tadiums are a bad investment in terms of expected return. A city that spends $500 million on a stadium is NOT going to get $500 million back. All the talk of economic benefit and jobs is bullshit. Everyone knows it’s bullshit. Every study ever done has conclusively demonstrated it’s bullshit.

There is, however, absolutely nothing stupid about pride. Cities SHOULD spend money on things that don’t have a tangible economic return - parks, libraries, putting pretty trees up, Christmas lights, that kind of thing. A sports team can be a point of great civic pride. A city’s job is to make itself a pleasant place for people to live, not to serve as an investment vehicle. I see nothing wrong with a city building a sports venue for pride *if the people are given an honest vote on it. *

If the City of Toronto went to the people and said “We have a chance to get an NFL team if we build a $800 million stadium. Fact is it’s probably $800 million we’ll never see again, but then Toronto will have an NFL team and that would be awesome. Vote yes and we get awesome; vote no and we save the money” then that is an honest and fair thing to do, and the people can have their say.

What’s wrong is if they do it without asking the people, or if they lie about it by saying “oh, don’t worry, we’ll make money on this.”

[quote=“Shodan, post:8, topic:737296”]

[list][li]In general, they don’t[/li][/quote]

Which is why I said “if.”

I completely agree that if it does not provide a net benefit, I don’t want to pay for it. Whatever “it” is.

I’d quibble with that; if–again, if–there is a long-term net benefit, short-term subsidies can be appropriate.

Presumably because of the perceived benefits to the municipality or state as a whole. Why should the average taxpayer contribute to tax breaks for certain businesses or industries, like filmmaking or auto manufacturing or athletic shoes? Because their elected officials think it’s a net benefit to have Peter Jackson or Honda or Nike operating in their jurisdiction. I’m not seeing how this is any different in principle.

Sure. But isn’t that endemic to a representative democracy? There are a lot of things I would rather have my tax money spent on that I don’t have a direct choice in.

And that situation is bullshit. Throw the money-wasting, 1%-coddling assholes out of office.
Look, I completely agree that many, if not the vast majority, of these stadium deals are extremely poor uses of tax dollars.

I think I mostly just disagree with boffking’s premise in the OP that “any other business has to pay for its own facilities.” I don’t think that’s true, and I’m not sure it should be.

If, IF, there is a net return, even over the long-term, it’s not a bad investment. It’s up to my elected officials to determine such a return will exist and convince me of it.

This here Democrat agrees with you. The ones in Oakland do also, who are telling the Raiders we’d like you to stay, and we know you need a new stadium, but we aren’t paying any city money for it.

I can see something like an agreed upon formula for computing the benefit to the city/county/state, and an agreement by the team to repay the city when the measured benefit falls below that. And an agreement to repay the rest if they decide to move before the government contribution is paid off.
Are they going to agree to that? Not likely.

The OP will get no argument from me.

I own my own small business, every excuse used to funnel taxpayer money into the pockets of billionaires could equally apply to me. So I’ll let anyone who wants roller blade through my place for an hour on sundays and the neighborhood T-ball league can host their world series on my front lawn if State taxes cover half the building’s mortgage and operating expenses.

I don’t think spending public money on stadiums is bad per se - stadiums can be used for a lot of things that benefit the public besides watching a handful of future brain cases throw a dead pig about. Concerts, gatherings, emergency relief (remember Katrina ?). And of course the city as a whole expects to earn at least *some *tourist money out of it.

However, having been built on the public dime, it is unconscionable to then hand over the keys to the local football team who keeps all the profits on tickets, ad money etc… but still expects the city to handle maintenance on their dime. But then again there’s some major under-the-table money in it for the city council and the mayor’s office and the people tend to go apeshit when their *circences *appears threatened in any way, so… :confused:

If the people vote for the deal accordingly, there’s nothing unconscionable about it.

I am quite certain the residents of most Canadian cities would pass a referendum to pay in full for an arena if it was the difference between having an NHL team or not having one. You might or might not vote the same way, and fair enough, that’s why we hold votes. But if they were allowed to vote on that deal and get a transparent view of the truth, that might be how the vote goes, and so be it.

Virtually everybody who has studied the issue agrees that there is no net benefit to building a sports stadium with public money.

It isn’t any different in principle. A bad deal is a bad deal.

It’s a bit more egregious than that. The voters were asked if they wanted to spend public money on a stadium. They said, loud and clear, No. The state went ahead and did it anyway.

You think I voted for Dayton?

The issue has been extensively studied. There is no net return in the short- or long-run. And my elected officials were not able to convince many that such a return would exist. Nobody in his or her right mind was convinced. And that moron Dayton went ahead and took money away from me and gave it to a billionaire so that somebody else can watch millionaires play games.

A stupid idea, that will lose money, to benefit the rich, that politicians lie about and then ignore the will of their constituents. Oh well, what can you do - at least we get to watch rich people give each other knee injuries.


I’d love to see some other private business even attempt this.
Maybe In-N-Out Burger should try it for further expansion?
“You want an In-N-Out Burger in your town? We’re going to need your town to pay for it’s construction. But look at all the benefits you’ll get! We provide jobs! We pay business taxes! And won’t you be proud that your town has it’s very own In-N-Out Burger? You better hurry, cause the town next to yours want’s one and were not building two of them.”