When the soon-to-be-former-Oakland Raiders broke ground on their new stadium, they did so thanks to hardworking Nevadans’ tax dollars. The state forked over the biggest stadium subsidy ever to lure the Raiders to Las Vegas–$750 million.
Each of the 65,000 seats in the stadium will cost taxpayers around $11,500. The giveaway was approved by a special session of the Nevada legislature, leaving the Nevadans footing the bill no say in the decision.
The idea of states taking millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for billionaire team owners’ stadiums where millionaire athletes play is absurd. Yet it happens all too often. At least $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies were collected in the past 20 years to pay off bonds used to build stadiums.
Supporters of subsidies always tout the supposed benefits of having a sports team, but it rarely pans out. Just ask the residents of St. Louis, who were stuck with a $144 million bill when the Rams took off for sunnier pastures. They’ll be paying for an empty stadium through 2021.
Mark Davis, who owns the Raiders, is worth over $500 million. The median household income in Nevada is $52,000. Shouldn’t the multimillionaire be paying for his own stadium instead of the hardworking taxpayers trying to make ends meet?
When governments give handouts to sports teams, taxpayers lose. It’s too late for Nevada taxpayers, but other local governments need to wise up and learn from the countless cautionary tales.
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