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Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds and the Financing of Professional Sports Stadiums

Austin J. Drukker, Ted Gayer, and Alexander K. Gold

Abstract:

This paper examines the role of federal tax subsidies in the form of preferences granted for bonds that state and local governments issue to finance the construction of professional sports stadiums. We examine 57 stadiums built since 2000, 43 of which were funded, at least in part, with federal tax expenditures in the form of tax-exempt municipal bonds. We estimate that the present value subsidy to the bond issuers was $3.6 billion and the total revenue loss to the federal government was $4.3 billion. We conclude with suggested reforms to reduce or eliminate this inefficient subsidy for professional sports stadiums.

Citation

Austin J. Drukker, Ted Gayer, and Alexander K. Gold (2020), Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds and the Financing of Professional Sports Stadiums , National Tax Journal, 73:1, pp. 157-196

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2020.1.05