Debate over publicly funded stadiums continues.

Position:News & Numbers

Public officials--and others --often argue that the public expense that goes into sports arenas is justified because these venues are economic engines for the neighborhood, city, and region. For example, when a new stadium for the Rams in Inglewood, California, was announced (to be paid for by the teams owner, in this case), Moody's Investment Service said the move would boost the Los Angeles suburb's sagging economy. At the same time, "many economists maintain that states and cities that help pay for new stadiums and arenas rarely get their money's worth," according to an analysis by Pew Trusts. The promised new jobs created are temporary construction jobs or usher and concession spots for far less than 40 hours a week.

Funding for these stadiums typically comes from bonds, additional taxes, etc. "Furthermore, when local and state governments agree to pony up money for stadiums, taxpayers are on the hook for years--sometimes even after the team leaves town," the analysis noted.

"As far back as the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the government has tried to limit public financing of stadiums, arguing that the stadiums--unlike other publicly funded infrastructure like roads and bridges--only serve a small number of people and that rich team owners should foot the bill," according to Pew. "The tax reform measure included a...

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