Senators introduce bill to prevent use of municipal funds to finance sports arenas

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Update: Rovell’s report left out a crucial part of the bill. From Cory Booker’s website:

The bill would close a loophole in the tax code that allows professional sports teams to finance new stadiums with municipal bonds that are exempt from federal taxes.

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The bill would end federal subsidies for stadium financing, but would not prevent localities and states from bidding and offering economic incentives to teams. In eliminating this wasteful expenditure, the bill also unties the hands of local governments to finance their stadium subsidies with taxes on tickets and in-stadium purchases—in other words, allowing states to target taxes on the people who actually use and benefit from the subsidy. Current tax law does not allow local governments to finance federal stadium subsidies by levying taxes on stadium purchases.

(Cap-tip to Royalsretro in the comments)

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ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and James Lankford (R-OK) will introduce a bill that will prevent the use of municipal funds to finance sports arenas.

In a public statement, Booker said:

Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue,” Booker said in a statement. “There’s no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It’s not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers, especially when wealthy teams end up reaping most of the benefits.

Rovell notes that the Yankees ($431 million) and Mets ($185 million) have received the largest amounts of money in federal subsidies according to a report from the Brookings Institute published last September.

A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, published in 2001, concluded, “The weight of economic evidence, however, shows that taxpayers spend a lot of money and ultimately don’t get much back. And when this paltry return is compared with other potential uses of the funds, the investment, almost always, seems unwise.”

The public financing of sports arenas is essentially corporate welfare. The owners receive free money, making the hazy promise of helping to boost the local economy by creating permanent jobs. That is almost never true, as many stadium jobs are temporary and seasonal. In other words, the jobs created pay little and provide little, if any, benefits like health insurance. While the owners pocket profits created by the stadium and by criminally underpaying employees, those employees then become dependent on the government to survive. Walmart, for example, has been taking advantage of this for years. According to Forbes, Walmart’s low pay causes their employees to cost U.S. taxpayers an aggregate $6.2 billion in public assistance despite Walmart taking in $132 billion for the year ending April 30, 2016. Stadium owners create the same situation for their employees and for taxpayers.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.