House Bill May Stop Sports Stadium Funding

On Thursday,the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee backed the measure HB 791. The House proposal, filed by Rep. Bryan Avila, prohibits the use of revenues from tourist-development taxes or convention-development taxes to finance or construct facilities that would be used by sports franchises. this bill also removes authority for local governments to spend half-cent sales tax revenues on motorsports entertainment complexes. In the grand scheme of abuse of public money by local governments, none has ever been legally worse than funding professional sports stadiums. You literally have to outright steal the money to produce a worse use of local tax money. 

The Marlin’s Park debacle is an easy one but the problem is far from being isolated to South Florida. There have been endless pieces of research showing that owners of sports franchises are the winners while the taxpayers are the losers. But, the most compelling piece of research applicable to this proposal came from Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Simply put, every professional sports stadium project funded by Florida taxpayers in any capacity has lost money, either outright, or at a minimum when you adjust for inflation. The average professional sports stadium project has produced a 0.3% annual rate of return. 

Now, before you start thinking that’s good because it’s not a negative number. In reality, it is. It’s always about the opportunity cost of that money. The average annual rate of return for stocks is 10%. For Real-Estate and Bonds, it’s 4%. Even gold and silver net an average 2% rate of return. So, you could literally do anything else to “invest” the money and do better. Plus, if the money is borrowed, as it almost always is, the rate of interest can quickly take it into negative territory.

Hopefully, this gains momentum and passes. We’ve been hosed enough by bad decisions made by local politicians.

Photo by: Mark Brown/Getty Images



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