Sports Tax

Posted in Politics, Religion by chamblee54 on February 13, 2013

There was a facebook link to What’s your take on President Obama’s second term? This is a poll about BHO, apparently without a fund raising subplot. PG declined to take the survey, because “It doesn’t matter what I think” was not an option.

There is another story at the website with the BHO poll. The headline was Didn’t Watch the Super Bowl? You Still Got Charged. It was about the “sports tax”. Some of the examples were goofy, but the concept is worth looking at. Especially in Georgia, where taxpayers are being asked to help build the Blank Bowl for the Falcons.

The pretty new stadiums cherished by the NFL are usually built with taxpayer help. Bloomberg has more information.

Taxpayers have committed $18.6 billion since 1992 to subsidies for the NFL’s 32 teams, counting the expense of building stadiums, forgone real estate taxes, land and infrastructure improvements, and interest costs on public bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Eighteen of the teams are owned by billionaires. Even clubs using privately financed buildings such as New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and Jets play, receive tens of millions of dollars in subsidies in the form of land and infrastructure spending.

Publicly financed stadiums for all U.S. major-league sports, including soccer, cost taxpayers about $10 billion more than forecast when accounting for the costs of land, infrastructure, operations and lost property taxes, according to a study of all 121 facilities in use during 2010 by Judith Grant Long, who teaches urban planning at Harvard University. The NFL has the highest public price tag, with taxpayers putting up about 87 percent of the expenses for NFL stadiums, she writes in her 2012 book, “Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities.”

This spending on sports facilities comes at a time when most governments are broke. Basic services are being cut back, and taxpayers are in revolt. Many say professional sports is a luxury we can no longer afford. The subsidies of events like the Super Bowl make them less profitable for the host city.

The second sports tax is a bit more esoteric. The sports industry gets tax breaks. They can make campaign contributions, and get cool deals from lawmakers. The one percent has it’s privileges. The rest of the population makes up the difference.

The third tax is a bit flakey. The word here is that sports channels are expensive, and included in most basic cable packages. If you don’t watch ESPN, you still have to pay for it. Unless you don’t pay for TV, which is still an option.

The fourth sports tax involves institutions of higher learning. If you attend a football factory, there are athletic fees. Resources that could be used for education are used to pay for athletic programs. While some athletic programs are cash cows, many are not.

The article does not mention higher health care costs because of sports injuries. When you operate under the insurance paradigm, everyone’s burden is spread out. When there are more expenses, there is more for the pool to pay for. Football is notorious for it’s injuries, but other sports contribute to the problem. This does not consider the resources directed to glamorous sports medicine, instead of others.

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is written like David Foster Wallace.

2 Responses

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  1. Laura Ross said, on February 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I have never commented on your blog before but am a longtime reader, and I just wanted to let you know that yours is one of the most entertaining all-around blogs I read. Keep up the good work! (and I am not a spambot either–I live near you in Drew Valley and I’ve decided it was high time to say hello).

    • chamblee54 said, on February 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Thank you. Drew Valley is a lot closer than Ukraine, or wherever the spam folks are based. If you ever venture north of Dresden Drive you might see me on my bicycle.

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