Legislator Calls on ALEC to Help End Taxpayer-Funded Stadiums
ALEC member and State Rep. Nate Walker is calling for closer scrutiny of using taxpayer-funded subsidies for sports facilities in his state of Missouri. In a statement this week, Rep. Walker proposed working with ALEC to form a multi-state team of legislators to strengthen this movement. Expressing similar sentiment, President Trump tweeted that laws giving the NFL massive federal level tax carve outs must be changed.
We are encouraged by the renewed spirit to end this misuse of taxpayer dollars at all levels of government. Since the 2000’s, it is estimated that nationwide, one billion of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars are transferred every year to pay for such facilities. Over the last 15 years, Missouri taxpayers have contributed more than $150 million for NFL arenas, including funding for the St. Louis Rams. Last year, the Rams departed for Los Angeles and the state still owes $43.3 million on a now vacant stadium.
Subsidizing sports facilities like these is fundamentally poor public finance. While historical evidence shows that stadium deals are a bad play for residents, resulting in little or no additional—or even negative—economic benefit, recent events concerning political expression are leading to a more critical examination of the question of taxpayer financing for sport franchises.
As Rep. Walker explains, “Previous governors and legislators in Missouri have invested millions of taxpayer dollars into NFL facilities.” And, Rep. Walker calls it just right, “Taxpayers invested in a football arena that has now become a political arena. Where will it stop, and what will it cost taxpayers? This must end.”
The ALEC Center for State Fiscal Reform looks forward to working with our legislative members like Rep. Walker to hold the line against using taxpayer financing for professional sports stadiums.