Obama’s budget has some bad news for team owners who want publicly-financed stadiums


The president’s new budget proposes the elimination of a tax break that team owners take advantage of in getting publicly-funded stadiums built:

Under current law, governments can use the proceeds from tax-exempt bonds for private activities, such stadium projects, unless more than 10 percent of the debt service comes from a private business, and more than 10 percent of the use of the facility is attributed to a private interest. Both have to be true for the exemption to be denied.

As part of its fiscal 2016 budget request, the Obama administration is proposing to change this dual test for sports facilities by focusing the exemption only on the question of how much the facility is used by a private interest.

There’s a good chance that the provision will be trashed during the process of budget negotiations — that’s just how it goes — but sometimes merely putting something on the table changes the parameters of the discussion.

If nothing else it will possibly force politicians who claim they are protective of taxpayer money, to explain why they support the giveaway of hundreds of millions to wealthy sports owners for ballparks which do little to benefit the public but a great deal to benefit said wealthy sports owners.