The bill to tax payers for bond-funded stadiums? $4 billion

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Whenever the subject of publicly-financed ballparks and stadiums comes up someone always makes the distinction that so-and-so’s ballpark wasn’t paid for with taxpayer dollars but, rather, was paid for with municipal bonds.

Muni bonds, however, are not free.  As Bloomberg notes, just because the money doesn’t come from a city or state’s general fund doesn’t mean taxpayers aren’t footing the bill. They are, because the interest paid to investors on such bonds are not taxable. The result:

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.

Stadiums which directly enrich millionaire and billionaire sports owners and their allied businesses.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.