In Detroit, Michigan, taxpayers are now being forced to subsidize basketball.
You heard that right.
Local governments are collecting hard-earned taxpayer money to build infrastructure for sports teams.
The Detroit city council recently approved a $20 million tax incentive for the Detroit Pistons’ $83 million practice facility.
Additionally, a minimum $285 million of public funds are going towards the new arena as well.
Many young adults in Detroit already struggle to pay bills. The local government shouldn’t be asking for more tax money from residents who may not even enjoy sports.
The Pistons’ Detroit project was announced in 2013, and cost projections have ballooned from $450 million to a whopping $862 million. Funding is set to be 62 percent private and 38 percent public. The Downtown Detroit Development Authority says authorities are expecting to collect $726 million in property tax revenue through 2051.
Unfortunately, corporate welfare for professional sports leagues is becoming a nationwide trend.
Professional sports leagues defend their use of public subsidies for new infrastructure by claiming that additional facilities will serve to benefit the public. Promises of economic booms and job growth are typically used to justify the use of public funds for athletic purposes, though the rhetoric rarely matches reality.
Since 1991, a few more than 100 new stadiums were opened across the country, and nearly all of them were funded, at least in part, by taxpayers.
At least $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies were collected by the federal government in the past 20 years to pay off loans borrowed from bondholders, used for stadium construction.
Often, city and state residents aren’t given a chance to vote on the issue. Referendums are frequently denied, with local lawmakers citing that a vote would “violate procedure.”
Subsidized sports stadiums rarely meet the expectations promised to taxpayers. Even if subsidies prove to improve local economies, residents should at least be granted the opportunity to vote on the matter.
It’s time to stop experimenting with taxpayers’ wallets, and let sports teams win on their own dime.
Sign the petition to urge Congress to end corporate welfare today!