Show-Me State Suckers Shell Out Super-Subsidies For NFL Rams
There are no good economic arguments and even fewer cultural ones to support handouts to billionaire team owners.
Let's say you want to build a new house for yourself. Otherwise, you tell your neighbors and your city council, you'll leave town, taking your money, tax payments, jobs, and prestige elsewhere.
What are the odds that legislators will cover at least 40 percent of your new house's costs?
And maybe throw another 15 percent your way too on naming rights to your deluxe manor and also let you collect all revenue from nights when you rent out the house to strangers for parties or other accomodations?
The odds are pretty low in most cities in America.
But if you own the NFL's Rams (who started out in Cleveland before heading to Los Angeles and then to St. Louis), you're in luck. Despite generally sucking—the Rams won two NFL titles back in the old days and just one Super Bowl, in 1999—St. Louis and the entire state of Missouri is so desperate to keep the team that they are ponying up at least 40 percent of the $1 billion-plus cost of a new stadium.
That price tag keeps climbing, of course, so who knows exactly where it will end up. Especially since the NFL is squeezing cities to firm up their corporate welfare packages by the end of the year and the Rams' owner is looking to talk with Los Angeles builders if the league would let him move back west. Los Angeles, needless to say, has a bunch of bazillionaires who are just dying to spend taxpayer dollars on bringing another team to Southern California.
Lost in all these tense negotiations and greenmail schemes is a variety of basic truths: having professional sports teams lowers an area's per capita income; the stadiums and infrastructure never pay for themselves; cities are far smarter to focus on roads, police, school, and education if they want to increase quality of life.
Hat tip: Mark Sletten
Before St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers go along with this shim-sham, they ought to a few minutes to learn "Why No Smart City Would Want the NFL":