In last Friday's Charlotte Observer, Republican Rep. and ALEC Task force member Ruth Samuelson said, "There's a natural sense of urgency," in regards to a new tax plan to fund a new stadium for the Panthers. And by that she means one of her largest donors is calling his marker.
First of all, commercial sports is not a money making business in the sense that it competes in a free market based on competition, sports teams compete with each other for subsidies and their entire profits are supplied by taxpayers.
From 1995-2006, local, state, and the federal governments spent more than 10 billion dollars subsidizing 50 new sports stadiums.
In 2007, Neil deMause, the author of "Field of Schemes" testified before congress that "The trend is only accelerating, government spending on sports facilities now soaks up more than 2 billion dollars a year."
In 2006 Forbes magazine published a study on the big four professional sports, baseball, basketball,football, and hockey which found they had combined revenues of 16.7 billion, they counted 1.7 billion as operating expenses. That's one way to measure profit, here's another
Sport Operating Profit* (millions)
Baseball $ 496
Basketball $ 207
Football $ 832
Hockey $ 125
Total $ 1,600
Subsidy $ (2,000)
Net loss before
*Before interest, taxes, depreciation, and debt repayment.
sources:Forbes; Field of Schemes
What this tells us is this, corporate socialism in the form of taxpayer dollars supplied by politicians accounts for the ENTIRE operating profit of the sports industry, in fact these subsidies provide over 1/3 of a billion dollars in operating losses before the taxpayers push them into the black.
This is exactly how George W. Bush, the great tax cutter made his fortune, raising the taxes on the people of Arlington, Texas and using the right of eminent domain laws to steal land, when he and six rich buddies bought the Rangers. This is how Rudy Giuliani funneled hundreds of millions of tax dollars into George Steinbrenner's pockets.
Jerry Richardson says he has ordered his estate to sell the Panthers two years after his death. So Richard has Samuelson wringing her hands and telling us we urgently need to hand him possibly hundreds of millions of dollars or he'll take his ball and go home. Smells like Art Modell extortion to me, let him go, all those tax dollars will still be there and can be spent on schools, roads, bridges, etc.
Why should individuals and businesses pay him a tribute, when he does nothing in return? Why should school children sacrifice so he can pursue his expensive hobby? Why should we allow the very rich to enrich themselves even more on the backs of taxpayers, the vast majority of whom will never attend a Panther game?
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