June 12th WRA Meeting

Cato Institute Must Read: Pandemic Makes Municipal Stadiums an Even Worse Deal for Taxpayers



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Cities across the country are struggling to make their debt payments on municipal stadiums in an era of canceled events, report Sebastian Pellejero and Heather Gillers in the Wall Street Journal:
Public officials have borrowed billions of dollars to build stadiums for major teams. Since 2000, more than 40% of almost $17 billion in tax‐​exempt municipal bonds sold to finance major‐​league stadiums were backed by levies on hotels and rental cars—making tourism taxes the predominant means of public stadium finance, according to the Brookings Institution.
The borrowers envisioned the sports facilities as a form of economic development that would attract fans from near and far, raising cities’ national profile and boosting their revenue beyond what was needed to pay back the bonds. The pandemic has turned that calculus on its head, crushing tourism proceeds and turning stadiums into a strain on city budgets. 


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