Sanity Over Sports
The point is simple and obvious: State and Local governments should not pay for stadiums for any professional sports team that can afford million dollar salaries for players.
The solution is equally simple: The Federal government should withhold payment of highway tax money to states in amounts equal to subsidies given by state and local government for professional sports teams.
Please sign our online petition so we can go to Congressional leaders to demand an end to the corporate welfare for sports teams. In addition to signing our online petition, please forward this email to everyone you know.
A brief review:
In the dawn of professional sports in the U.S., cities built public facilities for the common enjoyment of citizens. Athletes played for modest salaries and team owners could not afford to build stadiums without public help.
But today, revenues from ticket sales and media rights for sports events are in the billions of dollars. Leagues artificially control and limit the number of teams, forcing cities to compete with each other for teams by using public money to build coliseums for wealthy team owners and athletes. This economic extortion diverts billions of dollars away from needed projects, such as schools and road and bridge repairs.
There are many social costs to the glorification of sports in America. Money has a magnifying effect, and youth are mesmerized by the antics and sometimes the debauchery of professional athletes. Privileged athletes with more money than sense flout the law and basic standards of conduct, and young people model themselves after steriod using, irresponsible "super stars."
The public has become so numb to the excesses that there is little outrage when government subsidizes the rich while failing to shelter the homeless or provide health care to children.
The current "system" is a misuse of government that must stop. Yes, governments can partner with businesses to achieve goals good for society as a whole. But there is no need for government to subsidize sports teams that now have enough money to build their own stadiums.
More about the solution:
Only the Federal government can intervene to stop sports franchises from pitting state and local government against each other. Congress should allow state and local government to honor their current contracts and obligations (though athletes seem to have no shame about "renegotiating" their contracts!). But at the end of the current lease agreements, there must be a penaly for renewing subsidies. The penalty is a dollar for dollar reduction in highway tax dollars for any state in which government funds professional sports teams on which any player is paid more than one million dollars annually.
State and local governments would be able to continue to own stadiums but must charge a rent sufficient to reflect the true costs of the structure.
In the alternative, state and local governments may sell their stadiums to sports franchises but the purchase price must reasonably reflect the current cost of building a comparable replacement facility.
Taxpayers must be allowed to recover their investments in these facilities and should reinvest these funds in repairing long neglected infrastructure.
Sports franchises argue that subsidies to their teams are justified by the economic return to the community generated by the business. Not only is this argument false, it is irrelevant. All good businesses generate economic activity and ultimately tax revenue for government. But there is no point in subsidizing businesses that could and should stand alone. Here is an excellent link to an analysis of the true economic impact of sports teams. In the end, they cost taxpayers more money than they generate.
No one wants to eliminate professional sports. They are great fun and are a part of our culture. But it is insane to pay sports stars million dollar salaries while there are great needs elsewhere. Stop the craziness now.
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