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.