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Obama Administration Would End Tax-Exempt Bonds for Sports Stadiums

Ending the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance the construction of pro sports facilities has high level support from President Obama's 2016 draft budget, but it's too early to tell if the proposed ban on such financing mechanisms will be approved.
March 12, 2015, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget, presented to Congress last month, calls for barring the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities. Such bonds have raised about $17 billion during the past three decades, with proceeds funding construction of major-league stadiums and arenas in cities from Seattle to Baltimore," reports Eliot Brown. A soccer stadium in New York and a basketball stadium in are among the proposed stadium plans that would rely on bong financing to construct.

In the budget proposal, however, the Treasury Department notes that "funding pro facilities with tax-exempt bonds merely has 'shifted more of the costs and risks from the private owners to local residents and taxpayers in general'..." Moreover, "[barring] municipalities from issuing the bonds would save the federal government $542 million over 10 years," according to the Treasury Department's estimation.

The article goes on to cite some of the arguments in favor of tax-exempt bonds to finance sports facilities, including examples provided by the new Yankee Stadium and the under-construction football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis.

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Published on Sunday, March 8, 2015 in The Wall Street Journal
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