Weekly Press• Wed, Sep 22, 2010
Part One of Two: State paid for 56 stadiums since 1999
Whether professional sports corporations could survive without subsidies for their playing fields, courts, rinks and diamonds is a legitimate question for the taxpayers providing those subsidies.
Between 1999 and 2009, state taxpayers in Pennsylvania coughed up more than $500 million for sports performance arenas, while county and municipal taxpayers – who also pay the state taxes – were saddled with a similar amount for those facilities in their regions.
More than $1 billion in taxes went into the stadiums, arenas and other facilities built in Pennsylvania during the administrations of Governors Tom Ridge (R) and Ed Rendell (D). But taxpayers will actually pay more because much of the tax financing for both professional sports teams and community facilities came in the form of bond issues of between 20 and 30 years in duration.
A bond issue, like a home mortgage, is spread out over two or three decades and the homebuyer, in this case the taxpayer, winds up paying back 2.5 to three times the amount of money originally borrowed.