Legislation Seeking to Strip Taxpayer Funding from Sports Arenas Gains Momentum Following National Anthem Protests

Members of Congress are growing more interested in legislation that seeks to strip taxpayer funding from sports arenas following the recent NFL protests of the National Anthem.

Sen. James Lankford’s (R-OK) spokesperson told the Daily Caller on Sunday that interest in the “Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act of 2017” (S. 1342) proposed by Lankford and his Democratic co-sponsor Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in June, has grown in the past four weeks.

Booker and Lankford’s bill would ban professional sports teams from using federal tax-exempt funding and would amend the tax code to treat any bonds as taxable regardless of who is providing the bonds.

“Professional sports teams generate billions of dollars in revenue,” Booker said in a statement. “There’s no reason why we should give these multimillion-dollar businesses a federal tax break to build new stadiums. It’s not fair to finance these expensive projects on the backs of taxpayers, especially when wealthy teams end up reaping most of the benefits.”

Lankford agreed with his Democratic co-sponsor.

“The federal government is responsible for a lot of important functions, but financing sports stadiums for multi-million—sometimes billion—dollar franchises is definitely not one of them,” Lankford said.

Lankford and Booker’s bill notes that federal tax-exempted municipal bonds have financed the construction or renovation of 36 professional athletic stadiums. A Brookings Institute study reported that taxpayers spent $3.2 billion toward the construction costs of these stadiums.

Dozens of NFL players who potentially benefit from the state, local, and federal taxpayer funding protested the National Anthem on Sunday after Trump criticized NFL players who disrespect the National Anthem, and called on team owners to fire or suspend those who do so.


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